Ozone Depletion

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Environmental Studies

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Ozone Depletion

The ozone layer above Antarctica has been particularly impacted by pollution since the mid-1980s. This region's low temperatures speed up the conversion of CFCs to chlorine (National Geographic, 2013).

Handout Glogby Brigita SmithHerzing University

Ozone Depletion

Risk FactorsUV-B rays can cause sunburns, skin cancer, premature aging of skin, cataracts, and suppression the immune system response to infectious agents & skin cancers in humans. They damage phytoplankton, fish eggs and larvae, zooplankton and other primary & secondary consumers, as well as early developmental stages of fish, shrimp, crab, amphibians and other animals (EPA, 2011). UV-B rays influences the biological productivity of oceans and the climate system on land (Aucamp & Bjorn, 2010). Some crops may show detrimental effects from UV-B exposure (Aucamp & Bjorn, 2010).

Ozone protects the Earth from harmful UV-B rays emitted from the sun . Depletion of the ozone layer causes UV-B rays to reach the Earth, causing problems for humans, animals and other living organisms (National Geographic, 2013). CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) have been much to blame for the hole in the ozone layer. CFCs take 7-10 years to reach the stratosphere (US Information Agency, 1987). Banning CFCs through the Montreal Protocol for the Protection ofthe Ozone Layer has helped tremendously, but recovery will be slow (Aucamp & Bjorn, 2010).

CFC molecules divide when they reach the stratosphere and direct sunlight. The chlorine molecule breaks off, then destroys the ozone molecules, depleting the ozone layer (US Information Agency, 1987).

PreventionPrevent sunburns by using sunblock with a SPF of 30 or greater, & reapply frequently, especially when swimming. Wear wrap-around sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat (Aucamp & Bjorn, 2010).

Prevention of Ozone Depletion-Use of CFCs have been banned all over the world, & stratospheric ozone is no longer decreasing-Decrease greenhouse gas emissions (Aucamp & Bjorn, 2010).

Ozone, the CFCs & their substitutes are minor greenhouse gases with a small contribution to climate change. Several other gases involved in the chemistry of ozone depletion are also active greenhouse gases, such as water vapour, methane, & nitrous oxide. Increases in those will ultimately lead to increases in stratospheric gases that destroy ozone (Aucamp & Bjorn, 2010).

Links to resources about the ozone layer and its depletion:Brief Questions and Answers on Ozone Depletion http://www.epa.gov/ozone/science/q_a.html Will the Ozone Layer Recover? Can We Make More Ozone? http://www.epa.gov/ozone/science/makemore.htmlOzone Depletion http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/ozone-depletion-overview/


This short video combines dynamic ozone visualizations with an interview with leading atmospheric NASA scientist, Dr. Paul Newman. Dr. Newman explains why ozone is important, he cites the ingredients that cause an ozone hole to form, and he remarks on the future of the ozone, pointing to exciting new areas of ozone research, including the role climate change will play in future years (Newman, 2007). http://youtu.be/qUfVMogIdr8

ResourcesAucamp, P.J. & Björn, L.O. (2010). Questions and Answers about the Environmental Effects of the Ozone Layer Depletion and Climate Change: 2010 Update. Retrieved from http://ozone.unep.org/Assessment_Panels/EEAP/eeap-report2010-FAQ.pdfEnvironmental Protection Agency (EPA). (2011). Health and Environmental Effects of Ozone Layer Depletion. Retrieved from http://www.epa.gov/ozone/science/effects/index.htmlNational Geographic.(2013). Ozone Depletion - Losing Earth's Protective Layer. Retrieved from http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/ozone-depletion-overview/ Newman, P. (2007). NASA-Exploring Ozone. Retrieved from www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUfVMogIdr8US Information Agency. (1987). Depletion of the Ozone Layer. Retrieved from www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEHsFO-6m98


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