The Ozone Layer
By: Rene Leroux
Where and What is this Ozone Layer?
Ozone in the ozone layer is formed by the action of solar ultraviolet light on oxygen.
- The Ozone itself appears as a pale blue gas
- It has a very distinctively pungent smell, allot like chlorine, and it is detectable in very small amounts (10 ppb)
- The ozone is just the combination of three oxygen molecules and is therefore also named trioxide (O3) which is allot less stable than dioxide.
- The Ozone Layer is located in between the Troposhpere and Stratoshpere
What does it do?
- Trioxide (ozone) at ground level would be a highly hazardous to our respiratory system
- The ozone we all know helps us, because it is located way up in the stratosphere.
- The main function of the ozone in the stratosphere that aids us is its ability to absorb the suns UV rays witch could otherwise be harmful to us
How does it help sustain the Earth's climate?
UV rays can be very dangerous to any living organism. There are three types of UV rays; UVA, UVB and UVC. The UVC rays are the most dangerous type and could essentially super heat the earth, and kill everything, but thankfully, the UVC ray's are completely absorbed by our Ozone layer.
What is harming it?
The pollution produced by us has been forever increasing free radical catalysts (harmful chemicals), also known as CFCs .
Damage to the ozone layer can also be caused by sulfuric acid droplets produced by volcanic eruptions.
These chemicals include;
-Nitric oxide -Nitrous oxide -Hydroxyl -Clorine -Bromine
More specifically, these chemicals are produced from;
-Industry, agriculture, Fossil Fuels, transportation and more
In the northern hemisphere, ozone levels have depleted by 4% per year
What has been done to protect it?
- Long term solutions;
-Minimize high altitude aircraft flights (oxygen reduction and water vapor deposition)
-Minimize rocket flights (water vapor deposition)
-Encourage growth of plants that produce oxygen, discourage deforestation
-Decrease / control releases of high temperature steam / moisture to the atmosphere
-Reduce production and release of known ozone depleting chemicals (like CFC, ect...) where remotely possible.
- Short term solutions;
-Vehicle air conditioning units should regularly be checked for leaks.
-Try to use products which are labeled "Ozone-Friendly"
-Make sure CFC's from air conditioners and refrigerators are recycled
-Replace halon fire extinguishers with alternatives (e.g. carbon dioxide or foam).
-Ask about converting your car to a substitute refrigerant if the a/c system needs major repair
What is it like now?
Each year for the past few decades, chemical reactions involving chlorine and bromine has been causing more and more ozone holes/depletion. Higher levels of radiation resulting from the depletion of the ozone layer, have been linked to an increase in skin cancers. While reducing the production of ozone harming substances/chemicals, the recovery of the ozone layer, is expected to take at least 50 to 100 years.
As you can see the following charts depicts our ozone depleting on a constant scale as the years go by.
My opinions and how how i feel about this issue
In my opinion, everybody takes our ozone layer for granted. The awareness of this issue must raised dramatically. I also think factories and and other big production companies should increase the production of ozone friendly materials because i personally have never seen an ozone friendly label.