Q:

What is ozone depletion?

A:

Quick Answer

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.

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Full Answer

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:

    Where is the ozone layer located?

    A:

    The ozone layer is located in the stratosphere, a region of the atmosphere that is about 10 to 50 kilometers above the Earth. The stratosphere consists of approximately 90 percent ozone. Ozone has the chemical formula O3.

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  • Q:

    What does the ozone layer do?

    A:

    The ozone layer, also called the stratosphere, has a primary function of absorbing ultraviolet sunlight. The absorption of ultraviolet rays has many effects, such as atmospheric temperature regulation and protection of biological entities.

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  • 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 is the benefit of the ozone layer?

    A:

    The ozone layer absorbs most of the biologically damaging ultraviolet radiation from the Sun, allowing only a small amount to pass. Through UV absorption, it creates a source of heat that defines the temperature characteristics of Earth's stratosphere. Left unfiltered, certain frequencies of UV radiation would more easily penetrate the protective coverings of organisms, causing severe damage to DNA molecules.

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