The Earth 's ozone layer protects all life from the sun 's harmful radiation, but human activities have damaged this shield. Less protection from ultraviolet light will, over time, lead to higher skin cancer and cataract rates and crop damage.
The ozone layer is one layer of the stratosphere, the second layer of the Earth’s atmosphere. The stratosphere is the mass of protective gases clinging to our planet.
Ozone is only a trace gas in the atmosphere only about 3 molecules for every 10 million molecules of air. But it does a very important job. Like a sponge, the ozone layer absorbs bits of radiation hitting Earth from the sun. Even though we need some of the sun 's radiation to live, too much of it can damage living things. The ozone layer acts as a shield for life on Earth.
Ozone is good at trapping a type of radiation called ultraviolet radiation, or UV light, which can penetrate organisms’ protective layers, like skin, damaging DNA molecules in plants and animals. There are two major types of UV light: UVB and UVA.
UVB is the cause of skin conditions like sunburns, and cancers like basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.
In the last thirty years, it has been discovered that stratospheric ozone is depleting as a result of anthropogenic pollutants. There are a number of chemical reactions that can deplete stratospheric ozone; however, some of the most significant depletion comes from the catalytic destruction of ozone by freed halogen radicals like chlorine and bromine.
Overview of Ozone Depletion Ozone depletion is term used to describe occurrences regarding the Earth 's ozone layer. One of these observable trends is the slow and constant deterioration of the ozone in the atmosphere of about three percent per decade. The other is a great, though seasonal, reduction in the amount of ozone in the atmosphere over the polar regions, commonly described as an ozone hole. Although, the concentration of ozone in
References: 5.Ozone Science: The Facts Behind the Phaseout, 2010. United States Environmental Protection Agency.