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The ozone layer around the planet is thinning over the most populated areas, showing no improvement in the critical protective layer since the 1990s, The Wall Street Journal reported, according to a new study.

The greatest losses in ozone occurred over Antarctica but the hole there has been closing since the chemicals causing the problem were banned by the Montreal protocol.

This comes as a bit of a blow following the good news past year that the hole in the ozone above Antarctica appears to be healing thanks to a ban on chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).

In the 20th century, when excessive quantities of ozone-depleting chlorinated and brominated hydrocarbons were released into the atmosphere, the ozone layer in the stratosphere - at altitudes of 15 to 50 km - thinned out globally.

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"But while the banning of CFCs is leading to a recovery at the poles, the same does not appear to be true for the lower latitudes". The cause is now unknown.

Hossaini welcomed the "important" new study, but he argues that the current concentrations of VSLS in the atmosphere are too low to explain the falling ozone in the lower stratosphere.

Yet despite these increases, measurements showed that the total ozone column in the atmosphere has remained constant, which experts took as a sign that ozone levels in the lower stratosphere must have declined. They discovered that the amount of ozone in the lower stratosphere was still decreasing. The effect was worst in the Antarctic, where an ozone "hole" formed. "The decreases in ozone are less than we saw at the poles before the Montreal Protocol was enacted, but UV radiation is more intense in these regions and more people live there", informed Haigh.

The cause of this decline is not certain, although the authors suggest a couple of possibilities. "The impact of the Protocol is undisputed, as evidenced by the trend reversal in the upper stratosphere and at the poles", said Thomas Peter, from ETH Zurich. He suspects that very short-lived substances might have managed to reach the stratosphere and have resulted in the depletion of ozone layer. The latter includes chemicals used in solvents, degreasing agents, and paint strippers. These chemicals could so far have been "an insufficiently considered factor in the models", said Ball.

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The research examined the ozone levels between the 60th parallels, an area that ranges from Scandinavia, Russia and Alaska in the north to the tip of South America, The Guardian said. One is even used in the production of an ozone-friendly replacement for CFCs.

In the 1970s it came to know that, CFCs was severely affecting and destroying the ozone layer in the stratosphere. "But we have to keep an eye on the ozone layer and its function as a UV filter in the heavily populated mid-latitudes and tropics".

To conduct the analysis, the team developed new algorithms to combine the efforts of multiple global teams that have worked to connect data from different satellite missions since 1985 and create a robust, long time series.

With the help of global climate models, the scientists now want to investigate the causes behind the continuing lower stratospheric ozone decline.

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The study was conducted by researchers from institutions in Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the USA, Sweden, Canada and Finland, and included data gathered by satellite missions including those by NASA.