Ozone Depletion

Topics: Oxygen, Ultraviolet, Ozone Pages: 3 (914 words) Published: October 2, 2014
James Gieselmann
Environmental Issue
Ozone Depletion
According to Geir Braathan, the size of the hole in the ozone layer is both approaching an all time high and is continuing to grow. What is the ozone exactly? The average person is unable to answer that question. It is is colorless gas found at a higher altitude in the atmosphere of our Earth. It is formed by oxygen molecules that absorb ultraviolet photons and undergo a chemical reaction known as photolysis. This foreign process is when a single molecule of oxygen breaks down into two atoms. The atom then combines with a molecule to form an ozone molecule. It is located four to ten miles above the surface of the earth. The ozone itself is characterized by a diatomic molecule, constructed by three bonded atoms which differs from the oxygen we breathe because the gas we breathe is only two molecules. If one were to smell this layer, it would seem like a burning electrical wire. The ozone layer protects us and is a vital layer of the earth. The ozone molecules, absorb ultraviolet rays between 310 to 200 nm (nanometers) wavelength, which prevents harmful radiations from entering the Earth’s atmosphere. The process of absorption of harmful radiation occurs when ozone molecules split up into a molecule of oxygen, and an oxygen atom. The oxygen atom, again combines with the oxygen molecule (O2) to generate an ozone (O3) molecule. Thus, the total amount of ozone is maintained by this continuous process of destruction, and regeneration. Despite it’s importance, the ozone is extremely fragile. The earth’s ozone layer is a thin layer. If you took all the ozone in an entire column from the ground to infinity and beyond and compressed it to standard temperature and pressure (zero degrees celsius at one atmospheric pressure) it would only be three millimeters thick. In the Antarctic region, there is less that one third as much layer. Destruction is caused by the breakdown of bromine compounds. The depletion of...
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