Chemistry

What is Happening to the Ozone Layer



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  The glowing sun's energy heats the earth and makes life on earth possible. Plants, animals and humans need the sun to shine brightly so they can live a healthy life, but the strong ultraviolet light from the sun can be extremely dangerous. Fortunately way up in the sky is the atmosphere. The atmosphere surrounds the earth and the blue gas that lives in the atmosphere provides a shield and absorbs the harmful ultraviolet light from getting to the earths surface. This odorless gas is called ozone and the shield that protects the ultraviolet is the ozone layer. Sadly the ozone layer is disappearing.

  The ozone layer has been part of the earth's atmosphere for millions of years. Scientists have been measuring ozone in the Antarctic for more than thirty years. They use satellites and weather balloons to gather their information. Scientists got shocking information form their reports; it showed a huge hole in the ozone layer. The scientist soon discovered harmful chemical called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCS) which are found in aerosol products, refrigerators, air conditioners and computers. When these chemicals are realest in the air, they rise up to the stratosphere (the second area of the earth's atmosphere) they connect with the ultraviolet light and release chlorine which destroys ozone. If the ozone layer gets to thin, large amounts of harmful ultraviolet light could make plants and animals die. The risk of skin cancer will be greater than it is now and people could go blind from the suns strong ultraviolet rays.

 The chemical chlorofluorocarbons or CFCS has been used in many manufacturing products for over fifty years. Chlorofluorocarbons are the main reason for the disappearance of the ozone layer. There are many things people can do to help the ozone layer. One example is, try not to use aerosol products. Look for products that have the label no CFCS on them. In the United States they require products containing CFCS to be labeled. Other ways to help is when throwing out refrigerators, computers and microwaves; throw them out the proper way by bringing them to a recycling center.

   In September 1987, an international meeting in Montreal created the world's first environmental convention. The Montreal Protocol set limits on the use of CFCs and related chemicals, including halons (widely used in fire extinguishers). Nations agreed to freeze production at 1986 levels and gradually cut it back, eventually eliminating use of the chemicals. ©

In 1990, they met again this time ninety three countries came together and they found the process of using CFCS were drastically low across the world.  In June 1990 an international meeting in London voted for a strengthened Montreal Protocol under which CFCs, halons and other ozone-destroying chlorine compounds would be phased out by 2005 (most would be phased out by 2000). This target has essentially been met, but the longer-term results of the Montreal and London protocols will take many years to assess, as the chemicals already released will remain in the atmosphere for years to come.©

  The problem of the disappearing ozone layer exists and deserves research and public attention. The ozone layer is disappearing and the world has to come together to fix this problem.CFCS need to be eliminated in manufactured products or it will pose a threat to the ozone layer for another one hundred years.

 For more information on this subject go to this website:  http://www.ozonelayer.noaa.gov/

© http://www.classroom.antarctica.gov.au/6-climate/6-5-ozone-depletion


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