Ozone Layer is Healing Itself

Holes in Ozone layer over Antarctica are recovering at a steady pace. The change should not be mistaken as a result of global lockdown across the world due to COVID-19, but attributed to the long concentrated effort of nations and various bodies based on the Montreal Protocol of 1987.

Crux of the Matter

Some Ozone Relief Amidst Climate Change
According to scientists, the ozone layer is healing. Results were published during the four-year assessment of the health of the ozone layer done at the United Nations. Restoration of the layer is the result of the implementation of the Montreal Protocol agreed internationally in 1987. The Montreal Protocol prohibits the production of harmful materials causing the depletion of the Ozone layer. One of the major gas causing damage to ozone is Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC), which is used in refrigerators, hair sprays, air conditioners, etc.  As the Ozone layer is getting restored, change sin atmospheric circulation are being observed in the region of Antarctica.

This layer is quite important to sustain life on earth, as it restricts the harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays emitted by the Sun from entering earth’s atmosphere. Research says that UV rays can cause skin diseases and cancer.

Over the last three decades, the Montreal protocol has fulfilled its original objective to heal the ozone layer. But it didn’t stop there. Because CFCs and related gases are also super climate pollutants, phasing them out has reduced the climate problem by an amount that would have equaled the contribution of carbon dioxide today – more than half of all warming – with the Kigali amendment adding even more climate protection.

– Durwood Zaelke, President, Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development

Bright Future
Antara Banerjee and her colleagues at the Colorado University, with the help of satellite images and data, concluded that change in the wind patters is the result of the layer’s restoration. Banerjee has projected different recovery speed of Ozone layer restoration over different regions. She said that by 2030s the ozone layer in the northern hemisphere mid-latitude will recover its state similar to the 1980s. But the southern hemisphere mid-latitude will take a little longer i.e. around the 2050s to recover. And the polar regions will recover by the 2060s.

Even though the Ozone layer has seen some recovery, Climate Change is a potential danger to it. Government and people across the world will have to take more solid steps to preserve a sustainable environment.


Ozone depletion – Ozone depletion consists of two related events observed since the late 1970s: a steady lowering of about four percent in the total amount of ozone in Earth’s atmosphere, and a much larger springtime decrease in stratospheric ozone around Earth’s polar regions. The latter phenomenon is referred to as the ozone hole. There are also springtime polar tropospheric ozone depletion events in addition to these stratospheric events. More Info

The Montreal Protocol is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of numerous substances that are responsible for ozone depletion. It was agreed on 16th September 1987, entered into force on 1st January 1989, and was last revised in 2016 (Kigali) meeting. The treaty is structured around several groups of halogenated hydrocarbons that deplete stratospheric ozone. All of the ozone-depleting substances controlled by the Montreal Protocol contain either chlorine or bromine (substances containing only fluorine do not harm the ozone layer). Some ozone-depleting substances (ODSs) are not yet controlled by the Montreal Protocol, including nitrous oxide (N2O). More Info

Moscow Uses Fake Snow as it Faces Warmest Decmeber since 1886

The Moscow authorities dumped artificial snow in the city centre for New Year festivities, as the country is experiencing the warmest December since 1886. This act by the authorities has created a lot of amusement on social media.

Crux of the Matter
  • The mild Russian winter is seen as more evidence of global warming.
  • However, A light dusting of snow had fallen on December 29 in Moscow.
  • Authorities say that the artificial snow in Tverskaya was to create a snowboarding hill in time for the New Year celebrations.
  • Snow dumps were seen at Red Square and some other sites in the city centre which were closed to traffic.
  • Roman Vilfand head of Russia’s weather forecasting agency said it is Russia’s warmest year on record.
  • Alexei Nemeryuk, head of the Moscow Trade and Services Department said, “the snow was brought from ice rinks in the city to create a ‘snowboard slide’ in Tverskaya Street.

Fake snow is a product which is similar to the appearance and texture of snow, without being made from frozen crystalline water. Fake snow has been made from many materials. In the early 1900s, decorative snow was sometimes made from borax flakes and even ammonia. With changing climate trends, snowfall is becoming increasingly unpredictable, thus jeopardizing the economic success of ski resorts. Between 2008 and 2013, American ski and snowboard resorts experienced annual revenues of about US$3 billion. More Info

Australia Battling Massive Wildfires And Extreme Temperatures

Australia is facing scorching temperatures and out-of-control bushfires throughout the country, that increase the risk for pyrocumulonimbus clouds — also known as ‘fire clouds’. Every state in Australia has nearly crossed 40-degree celsius temperature.

Crux of the Matter
  • The fires in Australia are growing and have become so massive and powerful that they’re creating their own dangerous weather phenomenon. It is happening through the formation of “pyrocumulonimbus” clouds — what NASA calls ‘the fire-breathing dragon of clouds.’ These fire-induced storms bring little rain but are packed with lightning that can spark new fires.
  • Pyro-cumulonimbus clouds have developed to altitudes over 16km in East Gippsland 
  • Temperatures near Sydney have nearly reached 44 degrees celsius.
  • In the town of Mallacoota, around 4,000 residents fled toward the beachside as winds pushed an emergency-level wildfire towards their homes.
  • Many communities have cancelled New Year’s fireworks celebrations, but Sydney’s popular display over its iconic harborfront has not been cancelled.
  • Across the state of Victoria over 2,00,000 hectares of land has already been burnt in the fires.
  • More than 1,000 homes have been destroyed since the blazes began in September. At least 2,000 firefighters are currently battling the fires.
  • NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said, “We’ve got some deteriorating weather conditions over the coming days.”
  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, “We are expecting more difficult news out of New South Wales and Victoria today as the assessments are undertaken of the terrible fires from yesterday and last night.”

The cumulonimbus flammagenitus cloudalso known as the pyrocumulonimbus cloud is a type of cumulonimbus cloud that forms above a source of heat, such as a wildfire, and may sometimes even extinguish the fire that formed it. The CbFg was named following the discovery in 1998, that extreme manifestations of this pyroconvection caused direct injection of large abundances of smoke from a firestorm into the lower stratosphere. It is the most extreme manifestation of a flammagenitus cloud. According to the American Meteorological Society’s Glossary of Meteorology, a flammagenitus is ‘a cumulus cloud formed by a rising thermal from a fire, or enhanced by buoyant plume emissions from an industrial combustion process.’ More Info

Cold Wave in Delhi Breaks 119 Year Record

Delhi is known for its harsh winter, but this year the intense cold in Delhi broke the record of past 119 years on December 30, when the maximum temperature dropped to 9.4 degrees Celsius.

Crux of the Matter
  • The lowest maximum temperature so far recorded was on December 28, 1997, at 11.3 degree Celsius.
  • Kuldeep Srivastava, Head of the Regional weather forecasting centre of the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), said, “the day temperature was almost half of what is considered normal for this day of the year.”
  • India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued a ‘red’ warning’ denoting extreme weather conditions.
  • A thick blanket of fog has delayed nearly 500 flights; 21 were diverted from Delhi airport and 30 trains are running late due to low visibility.
  • The temperature of 9.4 degrees Celsius was recorded by the Safdurjung laboratory at 2:30 pm on December 30.
  • According to IMD, Delhi on December 29 registered its 16th successive ‘severe cold day’, the longest spell in the past 22 years.
  • Aya Nagar weather station recorded the day temperature of 7.8 degrees Celsius, followed by Ridge (8.4), Palam (9), Lodi (9.2).

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) is an agency of the Ministry of Earth Sciences of the Government of India. It is the principal agency responsible for meteorological observations, weather forecasting and seismology. IMD is headquartered in Delhi and operates hundreds of observation stations across India and Antarctica. Regional offices are at Mumbai, Kolkata, Nagpur and Pune. IMD became a member of the World Meteorological Organization after independence on 27 April 1949. The agency has gained in prominence due to the significance of the monsoon rains on Indian agriculture. It plays a vital role in preparing the annual monsoon forecast, as well as in tracking the progress of the monsoon across India every season. More Info

IIT-Bombay Research Finds Evidence of River 'Saraswati'

According to new research by the Physical Research Laboratory in collaboration with IIT-Bombay has reported ‘unequivocal evidence’ of existence a perennial river ‘Saraswati’ on the plains of northwestern India which researchers find mentions in the ancient texts of Rig Veda. 

Crux of the Matter
  • The research has been published in the journal ‘Scientific Report’ of Nature Publishers which is in the public domain. 
  • According to the researchers, the river a flowed roughly along the course of the modern Ghaggar.
  • The scientists behind the study were Anirban Chatterjee, J S Ray and Anil Shukla of PRL, and Kanchan Pande from IIT-Bombay.
  • The research studied the temporal changes of sediment provenance along a 300 km stretch of the Ghaggar river basin using different dating methods.
  • The researchers provide evidence for the river Saraswati being perennial and its flow from the Higher Himalayas between 7,000 BC and 2,500 BC along which the Harappans had built their early settlements between 3,800 BC and 1,900 BC.
  • The decline of the Saraswati due to rapid drying-up of the channels led to the collapse of the Harappan civilization.
  • Research finds Saraswati’s sources in the glaciated regions of the Higher Himalayas, similar to the Ganga, Yamuna and Sutlej which is the only likely path.
  • The ancient course of present-day Ghaggar could have been through the distributaries of the mighty Sutlej River. 
  • Jyotiranjan S. Ray, explains that ‘the uninterrupted flow of the perennial Saraswati started 80,000 years ago, and continued until 20,000 years ago. Extreme aridity of the last glacial period diminished the river, only for it to regain its strength 9,000 years ago and flow freely for the subsequent 4,500 years.’

Indus Valley Civilisation or Harappan Civilisation was a Bronze Age civilisation in the northwestern regions of South Asia, lasting from 3300 BCE to 1300 BCE. Along with ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, it was one of three early civilisations of the region comprising North Africa, West Asia and South Asia. Its sites stretched from northeast Afghanistan, through much of Pakistan, and into western and northwestern India. It flourished in the basins of the Indus River, which flows through the length of Pakistan, and along with a system of perennial, mostly monsoon-fed, rivers that once coursed in the vicinity of the seasonal Ghaggar-Hakra river in northwest India and eastern Pakistan. The civilisation’s cities were noted for their urban planning, baked brick houses, elaborate drainage systems, water supply systems, and new techniques in handicraft. The large cities of Mohenjdaro and Harappa very likely grew between 30,000 and 60,000 individuals. Harappa, the first of its sites to be excavated early in the 20th century. More Info