IT WAS once regarded as one of the biggest environmental threats to the planet.
Now there is mounting evidence that the ozone hole above the Antarctic has been protecting the southern hemisphere against global warming.
The bizarre side-effect of ozone depletion has been studied by scientists at the University of Leeds.
The ozone hole, caused by chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) released into the atmosphere, is now steadily closing, but the research has suggested this could actually increase warming.
Scientists discovered brighter summertime clouds had formed over the area below the hole, which reflect more of the sun's powerful rays.