Ozone

by: Uziel Pecina

Chemical Process

The Ozone is always being produced and destroyed in a natural way. The Ozone is at a complete balance but, when large increases in stratospheric chlorine and bromine, it sets the balance off. Ultraviolet rays (UVB's) produced from the sun are very harmful to people and they occur due to Ozone depletion. The Chemical equation for Ozone is O3 because it is produced when UV light strikes (Oxygen) O2 molecules, they are split into two individual O atoms — O and O. When one of the O atoms combine with O2 molecule, ozone (O3) is created.

Natural Process (Green House Effect)

The emissions of ozone depleting gases are caused by Humans through Bromine and Chlorine. The humans give off the gases and they do not readily dissolve in the snow or rain. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC's), for example accumulate in the lower atmosphere (troposphere) and re eventually transported to the stratosphere. Small amounts of these gases dissolve in ocean waters. Most halogen source gases are converted in the stratosphere to reactive halogen gases in chemical reactions involving ultraviolet radiation from the Sun. These gases can cause chemical depletion of stratospheric total ozone over the entire globe , except for tropical latitudes.


In polar regions, the presence of polar stratospheric clouds greatly increase the abundance of most reactive halogen gases. This eventually leads to ozone destruction in polar regions in the Winter and Spring. Volcanic eruptions inject materials into the stratosphere that can lead to increased destruction of ozone. As long as ozone is being created at the same rate that it is being destroyed, the total amount of ozone will remain the same. Ozone is easily created when high-energy ultraviolet rays strike ordinary oxygen molecules (O2), they split the molecule into two single oxygen atoms, known as atomic oxygen. A freed oxygen atom then combines with another oxygen molecule to form a molecule of ozone. There is so much oxygen in the atmosphere that it is easy for ozone to form again.

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Anthropogenic Processes

Industries that manufacture things like insulating foams, solvents, soaps, cooling things like Air Conditioners, Refrigerators and ‘Take-Away’ containers use something called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). These substances are heavier than air, but over time, (2-5years) they are carried high into the stratosphere by wind action. Once the CFC's are released Ultraviolet radiation from the sun breaks them up, and this causes Chlorine atoms to be released. Many CFC's are given off daily by humans because they use emit gases from motor vehicles and other things humans use daily, but they don't realize how much of an impact it is making on the Ozone layer. The emissions caused by humans is the main reason why we have so much depletion in our Ozone.


The levels of Carbon dioxide produced from fossil fuels have been increasing over the past 150 years. The Earth will become warmer because of the radiation produced by the sun. The Ozone lets the sunlight into the Earth but it keeps all of it's energy. There are many gases that do not react as much with radiation but there is still a wide abundance of other gases that are constantly emitted every day. The effects of the radiation from the sun and the gases reacting are; changes in farming, changes in bio distribution, rising sea levels due to the melting of the polar ice caps. The reason why these problems have occurred is because of the use of aerosols, refrigerants, solvents, and plastics.

Bill Nye "The Science Guy" Explains the Damaging Effects of Global Warming - July 2012

Is the Ozone Good or Bad?

Many people believe that the hole in the Ozone layer is a joke and that the world will never have any problems if we keep on living the way we do now. The Ozone is what keeps the planet warms and in doing so, it can create great danger for the polar ice caps. Gases are emitted daily, both anthropogenic and naturally. The natural way is the best way to keep the Ozone stable and to keep the Earth warm. But the Anthropogenic way is having a really bad affect on the Earth as a whole. Comparing the good and the bad of the Ozone may seem simple, but there are many details that others don't know.


The Ozone stays balanced by the energy that enters the earth and the energy leaving. The solar radiation that enters the earth can either absorb into the gases in the air or they can reflect back into space. This natural process is called the greenhouse effect because the Sun's energy is being absorbed to create heat in through the glass of a greenhouse, and it never lets the heat out. This process occurs everyday and it keeps the heat that the planet need in the atmosphere, or else we would be a great big ice ball. The Ozone is also balanced when this process occurs, but whenever there are too many gases reacting with the solar radiation, the Earth will start to get a little too warm.


With the natural process of the Ozone depletion, the anthropogenic process does a lot more damage to the Earth. The Ozone has a double and a single bond, which means it is weaker than Oxygen gas because O2 has a double bond. With that being said, the Ozone is easily broken by the solar radiation. You can calculate the wavelengths and breaking of the bonds through Planck's equation. Planck's equation is Ephoton= h X c/Y. Both of the polar ice caps are the places that have the largest effects on human life. Pollutants cause this depletion because of the dirty are that we have. This is called Air Pollution, and that is why the Ozone layer has a hole in it.


The Ozone layer also protects humans from high UV radiation, which can cause altering in properties of DNA. Strong UV radiation can cause skin cancer to humans, and it can also trigger eye problems like cataracts and blindness. UV radiation can also cause trouble in oceans and se life because it can destroy the larvae of fish, shrimp, crab and plankton near the surface. Zooplankton and Phytoplankton are at the bottoms of the marine food chain, and due to UV radiation they die out and that means that there is less food in the marine ecosystem. The plankton have an important role in the marine ecosystem because they reduced levels of carbon dioxide and produce oxygen for everyone in the ocean. This is the bad that is happening due to the depletion of the Ozone.


The Ozone protects all human life on Earth and acts as a force field from the harmful UV radiation. The good part of the Ozone is that it goes all around the world and keep's every single being from being harmed. The CFC's that are emitted into the atmosphere are going to stay there during the next century because of their low reactivity, and the Ozone layer will keep those CFC's until they react with the radiation of the Sun. The Ozone layer supports all life on Earth and the anthropogenic process just destroys it. There hasn't been much action taken to prevent the Earth from burning up, but as a human, I use less gas every week, and I recycle and help clean up all of the pollution in my community. The Ozone can both help or hurt us, it all depends on how we treat the Earth and how long we will survive on this planet.

Works Cited

Brown, Catrin. Higher Level Chemistry: Developed Specifically for the IB Diploma. N.p.: Pearson, 2009. Print.

Ogsborn, Emily. "What Is Ozone Gas." What Is Ozone Gas. Eschooltoday, n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2014.

"The Process of Ozone Depletion | Ozone Layer Protection | US EPA." EPA. Environmental Protection Agency, n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2014.

YouTube. YouTube, 14 Sept. 2012. Web. 11 Dec. 2014.