The ozone layer is a layer in Earth's atmosphere which contains relatively high concentrations of ozone (O3). This layer absorbs 93-99% of the sun's high frequency ultraviolet light, which is potentially damaging to life on earth. Over 91% of the ozone in Earth's atmosphere is present here. It is mainly located in the lower portion of the stratosphere from approximately 10 km to 50 km above Earth's surface, though the thickness varies seasonally and geographically. The ozone layer was discovered in 1913 by the French physicists Charles Fabry and Henri Buisson. Its properties were explored in detail by the British meteorologist G. M. B. Dobson, who developed a simple spectrophotometer (the Dobsonmeter) that could be used to measure stratospheric ozone from the ground. Between 1928 and 1958 Dobson established a worldwide network of ozone monitoring stations which continues to operate today. The "Dobson unit", a convenient measure of the total amount of ozone in a column overhead, is named in his honor.
The ozone layer can be depleted by free radical catalysts, including nitric oxide (NO), hydroxyl (OH), atomic chlorine (Cl), and atomic bromine (Br). While there are natural sources for all of these species, the concentrations of chlorine and bromine have increased markedly in recent years due to the release of large quantities of manmade organohalogen compounds, especially chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and bromofluorocarbons. These highly stable compounds are capable of surviving the rise to the... [continues]
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