Before we know why the ozone layer is too necessary and about ozone depletion lets us know. Why do we care about the ozone layer?
what is the ozone layer?
The ozone layer is a natural layer of gas in the upper atmosphere that protects us from harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.
Although ozone is present in small concentrations throughout the atmosphere, most (around 90%) exists in the stratosphere, a layer 10 to 50 kilometers above the Earth’s surface. The ozone layer filters out most of the sun’s harmful UV radiation and is therefore crucial to life on Earth.
Why should we care about the ozone layer?
Most ozone resides in the stratosphere (a layer of the atmosphere between 10 and 40 km above us), where it acts as a shield to protect the Earth’s surface from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation. With a weakening of this shield, we would be more susceptible to skin cancer, cataracts, and impaired immune systems.
Chemicals containing chlorine and bromine atoms are released into the atmosphere through human activities. These chemicals combine with certain weather conditions to cause reactions in the ozone layer, leading to ozone molecules being destroyed. Depletion of the ozone layer occurs globally, however, the severe depletion of the ozone layer over the Antarctic is often referred to as the ‘ozone hole’. Increased depletion has recently started occurring over the Arctic as well.
Scientists discovered in the 1970s that the ozone layer was being depleted.
Atmospheric concentrations of ozone vary naturally depending on temperature, weather, latitude, and altitude, while substances ejected by natural events such as volcanic eruptions can also affect ozone levels.
However, these natural phenomena could not explain the levels of depletion observed and scientific evidence revealed that certain man-made chemicals were the cause. These ozone-depleting substances were mostly introduced in the 1970s in a wide range of industrial and consumer applications, mainly refrigerators, air conditioners, and fire extinguishers.