The Ozone Layer Essay Research Paper The

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The Ozone Layer Essay, Research Paper The Ozone Layer Introduction The ozone layer is one of the most important source of protection that exists on Earth. It is a region of the stratosphere containing a high concentration of ozone, and it prevents a great amount of ultraviolet and other high-energy radiation from penetrating to the earth s surface. The ozone layer has been a security blanket that lies on top of the earth, protecting it from harmful rays, however, humans have abused of the use of CFCs, and other industrial chemicals that are now destroying this layer and causing big worries and health risks to all living things. There have been many holes discovered on the layer, and scientist are deep into research to find new ways to solve this problem. What follows, will

discuss the structure of the ozone layer, so that it can be understood what is happening when it is being destroyed. Also, different pollutants and how they can be avoided will be researched in order to come up with a unique solution to this dangerous problem. The Ozone Layer Background Information The ozone layer is one of the oldest things on the planet, older than any of the ancient creatures we see in our museums today. The ozone layer has provided protection for the living components under it for millions of years, and without the ozone layer, we most likely would not be here today. The ozone layer is a layer of ozone particles scattered between 19 and 30 kilometers up in the earth’s atmosphere. Without the ozone layer, UV radiation would not be stopped from entering the

earth’s atmosphere and coming to the surface. Cancer would break out and all of the living civilizations, and all species on earth would be in jeopardy. Ozone is made up of three oxygen atoms (O3). It is poisonous to breath in more than a tiny amount of it. It is made when oxygen (O2) in the stratosphere is broken down by sunlight. The oxygen atoms then join with other oxygen molecules to form O3 or Ozone. The ozone is then broken down again to join with more oxygen. This continuous cycle keeps ozone at it’s correct level. In the 1970’s, scientists first discovered that chlorofluorocarbons (CFC’s) potentially could destroy the ozone layer, and since CFC’s had been in use as refrigerants, coolants, and propellants for aerosol cans since the 1930’s, there was could have

a lot of damage already done. However, only in the 1070 s, the dramatic loss of ozone in the lower stratosphere over Antarctica was first noticed. Over Antarctica, stratospheric ozone has been depleted over the last 15 years at certain times of the year. This is mainly due to the release of manmade chemicals containing chlorine such as CFC s, but also compounds containing bromine, other related halogens and also nitrogen oxides (NOx). The Ozone Layer Chemical processes Ozone is a naturally occurring trace gas, chemical formula O3. In the stratosphere, it serves to absorb many harmful solar UV rays. The atmosphere is about 1000 km (600 miles) thick. Atmospheric layers, as measured in distance from the Earth’s surface, are: Troposphere (0 to 10 km; 0 to 6 miles) Stratosphere (10

to 50 km; 6 to 30 miles) Mesosphere (50 to 80 km; 30 to 50 miles) Thermosphere (80 to 600 km; 50 to 400 miles) Exosphere (600 to 1000 km; 400 to 600 miles) The public s attention is caught mostly by the stratospheric ozone layer and its ability to absorb ultraviolet (UV) light. The ozone layer shields the Earth’s surface from the full fury of solar UV radiation. In the process, ozone is created and destroyed, breaking up into diatomic oxygen and an oxygen atom: O3 + UVO2 + O (equation 1) Diatomic oxygen can also be split by UV light to yield two oxygen atoms: O2 + UVO + O (equation 2) Ozone is resynthesized by the combination of diatomic oxygen and one of the oxygen atoms liberated in equation 1 or equation 2: O2 + OO3 (equation 3) Ozone is depleted when the natural balance is