Ozone Layer

By: Violet Putz

What is the ozone layer?

The ozone layer completely surrounds the earth and is made up of mostly ozone. Ozone is a special type of oxygen. It is formed when there are three oxygen atoms instead of two. This may be the result of radiation, electrical discharge or any other thing that would cause a rearrangement of atoms. The ozone layer is also a deep layer within the stratosphere. Without the ozone layer the earth wouldn't be protected from harmful ultraviolet rays.

Destruction of the Ozone Layer

The majority of the destruction of the ozone layer is due to ODS, ozone-depleting substances. These are chemicals are safe in the lower atmosphere, but they float upperward and become dangerous. Once they make their way into the stratosphere the chemicals are broken down into chlorine and bromine. Chlorine and bromine break apart the ozone molecules.

Common types of ODS

Chlorofluorocarbons
  • Cause 80% of the ozone destructions
Halons
  • Used in fire extinguishers
Methyl Chloroform
  • Used in the industry
Carbon Tetrachloride
  • Used in solvents and some fire extinguishers
Hydrofluorocarbons (HCFC's)
  • A more safer version of CFC's that still cause ozone destruction

Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC's)

CFC's are chemicals containing carbon, chlorine and fluoride. They are nontoxic, nonflammable, and typically used in aerosol cans. During the 1800's and early 1900's they could be found within almost every refrigerator. By 1928 Frigidaire, General Motors and Du Pont had gotten rid of the chemicals after they discovered how bad they were for the environment. CFC's could also be found within air conditioning units. It has been found that these chemicals are linked to the destruction of the ozone layer.

Future of the Ozone Layer

The future of the ozone layer doesn't look great unless ozone-depleting chemicals (ODC's) start to be banned. It has been predicted that this will happen soon. After the amount ODC's that are being used are reduced the ozone layer will be able to recover. Recovery will be a long process. It will only be able to be accomplished if good habits are put into place in order to save the ozone layer.

My Reaction

I thought this project was interesting because there are a lot of chemicals that have been deemed safe for humans that aren't safe for the environment. I never knew about all of the chemicals being released each time you use an aerosol can. This project has caused me to become more aware of all the chemicals I use and the effects they might be having on the environment.

Works Cited

  • "ESRL Global Monitoring Division - Halocarbons and Other Atmospheric Trace Species." ESRL Global Monitoring Division - Halocarbons and Other Atmospheric Trace Species. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 May 2016.
  • "Ozone Depletion Information, Ozone Depletion Facts, Ozone Layer, Ozone Hole - National Geographic."National Geographic. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 May 2016.
  • "The Causes of Ozone Depletion." British Columbia. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 May 2016.
  • "Weather Questions & Answers." Weather Questions. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 May 2016.

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