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The Ozone Hole,What Causes The Hole, What Are Some Of The Effects That It Has On Humans And Animals,And What Is Being Done To Try In Slow Down The Process.

1126 words - 5 pages

The ozone hole over the Antarctic this year caught many people's attention since it was reported that it had reached record size. Many people hear these stats and really don't know what they exactly mean, they know that it can't be a good thing but what does it actually mean for them? In my paper I will explain the process and causes of the depletion itself, what does this depletion means to humans and plants, and what can be done if anything to prevent further damage.The ozone depletion process begins when CFCs and other ozone depleting substances (ODS) are emitted into the atmosphere. Winds efficiently mix the troposphere and evenly distribute the gases. CFCs are extremely stable, and they do not dissolve in rain (Haas 2001). So, after a period of time theses CFCs, which contain Chlorine, reach the stratosphere and begin to destroy the ozone (Haas 2001).So, what are CFCs? Manmade CFCs compounds were developed in the early 1930s for a variety of industrial and commercial applications, but it was not until the 1970s that these and other chlorine-containing substances were suspected of having the potential to destroy atmospheric ozone (Haas 2001). In 1985 a team of British researchers first reported unusually low ozone levels over Halley Bay, Antarctica, which was caused by chemical reactions with chlorine and nitrogen compounds. Research was initiated that found CFCs to be largely responsible for the anomalously low levels during the polar springtime. This polar ozone depletion at lower stratospheric altitudes is what has been termed the "ozone hole" (Rycroft 1990).Since, we now know what causes this ozone depletion, what does this mean in terms of humans and plants? The potential impact on human health and ecosystems due to increased UV exposure is a primary concern. Increases in skin cancer and cataracts in human populations are expected in a higher UV environment (Rycroft 1990). This best example of these being true is a study that was done by Dr. Jaime Abarca, Dr. Claudio C. Casiccia, and Dr. Felix D. Zamorano. Over the past 15 years Punta Arenas, Chile, a medium size city that is located on the extreme southern tip of South America, has repeatedly been exposed to acute, sudden episodes of highly increased levels of ultraviolet radiation because of the passage of the spring Antarctic "Ozone Hole" overhead or nearby (Abraca et al 2000). The purpose of Dr. Abarca and the others (2000) was to observe the relationship between episodes of ozone depletion, increases UVB radiation, and sunburns and photosensitivity disorders in Punta Arenas, Chile, during the spring over a 14 year period. Dr. Jaime Abarca and the others (2000) reviewed records of incidence of photosensitivity disorders and sunburns and compared that to records of the corresponding increase of UVB radiation. They found that patients with sunburn increased significantly during the austral spring of 1999 (Abarca et al 2000). This was especially noticeable in 29 out of 31 cases on...

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