The Earth’s atmosphere is divided up into the Troposphere, Stratosphere, Mesosphere and the Thermosphere. The Earth’s ozone layer is located in the lower stratosphere, which begins about 6 to 10 miles above the Earth’s surface and expands up to about 30 miles. The ozone layer shields all life on earth and protects it from the dangerous radiation of the sun.
The ozone layer acts as a safeguard against the harmful radiation of the sun. It absorbs Ultraviolet B rays. Ultraviolet B, also known as UVB, is harmful to human life, crops, and some of marine life. It can cause multiple types of skin cancer, cataracts, and crop damage. Ozone can absorb UVB and stop it from reaching the earth's surface.
The normal oxygen we breathe in consists of only two oxygen atoms. Ozone is a molecule that has three oxygen atoms and is uncommon compared to normal oxygen. In the mid 1970's, several researchers looked into the chemicals affecting the ozone layer. These chemicals were mostly Chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs. CFCs were first thought of as miracle substances because of their stability. CFCs are also non flammable, low in toxicity, and it was inexpensive to produce. CFCs are found in refrigerants, air conditioners, aerosol cans, firefighting equipment, solvents, and pesticides. The stability of CFCs makes it hard for natural means like rain to efface it. Over time, winds transfer CFCs into the stratosphere. CFCs are then exposed to ultraviolet rays and only the strength of the UV radiation can break CFCs down into substances that contain chlorine. Chlorine can break apart the ozone molecule, taking and reacting with one of its oxygen atoms. One atom of chlorine can damage over 100,000 ozone molecules, destroying ozone faster than it is created.
Antarctic Ozone Hole
The release of CFCs resulted in ozone depletion, also known as the “ozone hole.” Although it is called...