Q:

What is ozone depletion?

A:

Ozone depletion refers to the decline of ozone gas in the Earth's atmosphere. This decline of ozone gas means large amounts of ultraviolet B radiation reaches the Earth's surface.

Ozone gas is a highly reactive gas that sits high up in the Earth's atmosphere. It shields the Earth's surface from dangerous ultraviolet B radiation that comes from the sun. Many attribute the depletion of ozone gas to high amounts of pollution that break down gas molecules. Ultraviolet B radiation has been linked to skin cancer in humans and has many other negative effects to different organisms, making the depletion of the ozone layer a pressing environmental and public health issue.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Why is the ozone layer important?

    A:

    The ozone layer is important because it filters harmful ultraviolet radiation as it travels from the sun to the surface of the Earth. These ultraviolet rays can harm both plant and animal life. After observation of a depletion of the ozone layer from the addition of chlorofluorocarbons and other man-made chemicals, the Montreal Protocol was enacted on Jan. 1, 1989 as an attempt to eradicate these chemicals from the atmosphere.

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  • Q:

    What atmospheric layer contains the most ozone?

    A:

    The ozone layer contains about 90 percent of Earth's ozone. It is part of Earth's stratosphere and lies between 6 and 30 miles above the planet's surface, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The highest concentration of ozone is found between 12 and 19 miles above the surface, notes Wikipedia.

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  • Q:

    How can we protect the ozone layer from being destroyed?

    A:

    In order to halt the depletion of the ozone layer, countries around the world have banned the use of chlorofluorocarbons and other ozone-depleting substances. These compounds produce chlorine and bromine atoms high in the atmosphere, and these atoms react with ozone, destroying it.

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  • Q:

    What is destroying the ozone layer?

    A:

    According to the Environmental Protection Agency, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other complex chemicals make their way into the upper reaches of the stratosphere where they decay and release chlorine and bromine atoms that destroy ozone. The chemical reactions caused by these substances break apart the ozone atom, removing its protective capacity and increasing the amount of ultraviolet radiation that can pass through the Earth's atmosphere.

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