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As a result of the 1987 Montreal Protocol and its amendments, the atmospheric loading of anthropogenic ozone-depleting substances is decreasing. Accordingly, the stratospheric ozone layer is expected to recover. However, short data records and atmospheric variability confound the search for early signs of recovery, and climate change is masking ozone recovery from ozone-depleting substances in some regions and will increasingly affect the extent of recovery. Here we discuss the nature and timescales of ozone recovery, and explore the extent to which it can be currently detected in different atmospheric regions.