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Ozone Depletion in the Atmosphere

Essay by   •  January 13, 2013  •  Research Paper  •  727 Words (3 Pages)  •  911 Views

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Planet Earth is surrounded by a protective layer known as the ozone. This ozone layer is vital to us and the animals and plants living on this planet. It serves as a shield from the sun's destructive ultraviolet B radiation. These UV rays can be very damaging to living organisms. Some results we see from UV rays are suntans and sunburns that can affect the skin severally (Ozone Depletion, 2012). The ozone layer is located 9.3 to 18.6 miles above Earth and is full of naturally occurring ozone gas. This gas is highly reactive and its is constantly being formed and broken down; contains three oxygen atoms. The ozone layer is slowly depleting and has become a serious matter for the planet.

Since the 1970s is has been noted that the ozone layer is slowly depleting. This is something of great concern to humans because it can be very dangerous. It is said that the ozone has been steadily declining 4% per decade and continues to decline. There are a few phenomenons in the ozone layer, one is the ozone hole. The ozone hole is not an actual "hole," it is an area above the South Pole where the ozone layer is much thinner. This means ozone occurs in lower concentrations, specifically where O3 is less than 220 Dobson units (The Effects of Global Warming, 2012). In addition to the ozone hole there are also springtime polar tropospheric ozone depletion events. This happens during the springtime in polar regions where photochemistry converts inert halide salt ions into reactive halogens species that deplete ozone to nearly zero levels (Ozone Depletion Information, 2012).

It is believed that the destruction of the ozone layer is our own fault. The amount of pollution released contains chemicals bromine and chlorine which affects the ozone layer. This allows ultraviolet B rays to enter the Earth causing cataracts and skin cancer (Ozone Depletion Information, 2012). Not only are we affected, but so are the animals living on this planet. The oceans are also being affected. Basic organisms, like plankton, cannot survive the ozone layer depletion. This will majorly affect other animals above plankton in the food chain. This will lower the populations of other animals. Desserts, rainforest, and wind patterns will also be affected by this global warming. All these changes can gravely affect Earths climate.

All of these reactions will have a major affect on our lives. Scientist have noticed changes in the reproductive rates of young, shrimp, crabs, fish, frogs, and even salamanders that have been excessively exposed to ultraviolet B radiation. Humans continually put chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) into the atmosphere, breaking down ozone gas (The Effects of Global Warming, 2012). Some ways ozone depletion can affect our lives are, crop yields will decrease, plastics and paints will degrade, forest productivity will be harmed, forest fires will become more common, plankton productivity will slowly cease to exist, food webs will be disrupted,

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