International cooperation on ozone-depleting chemicals is helping to return the southern jet stream to a normal state after decades of human-caused disruption, a study shows. Scientists say the findings prove there is the capacity to heal some damaged climate systems if governments act promptly and in coordination to deal with the causes. The southern jet stream is a powerful wind that shapes weather patterns and ocean currents in the southern hemisphere, particularly in the summer. Up until about 2000 it had been shifting from its usual course and moving southwards towards the Antarctic at a rate of one degree of latitude each decade, affecting storm tracks and rainfall over South America, east Africa and Australia. Previous research has shown this was primarily driven by the depletion of the ozone layer by manmade chemical compounds such as chlorofluorocarbons, hydrochlorofluorocarbons, found in fridges, aerosols and other industrial processes. These chemicals, which were used in vast quantities until they started to be phased out under the United Nations 1987 Montreal protocol , thinned the ozone layer, causing a widening “hole” high above the south pole that affected wind patterns. The new paper, published in the journal Nature , shows that the Montreal […]

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