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Ozone is a gas made up oxygen. Ninety percent of all atmospheric ozone is found in the stratosphere.

Ozone depletion is the result of a complex set of circumstances and chemistry.

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Ozone-depleting substances (ODS) began being released on a large scale when mass production of CFCs for refrigeration began in the 1930s. Emissions of ozone-depleting substances progressively increased during the twentieth century and began to upset the natural equilibrium of the processes that maintain the ozone layer. This caused a progressive thinning of the ozone layer in all areas of the globe, but most notably over Antarctica.

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Image of the largest Antarctic ozone hole recorded to date (24 September 2006, credit: NASA)

This much-reduced ozone layer now allows more ultraviolet radiation (UVR) to penetrate the atmosphere, with significant implications for human health and the environment.Ozone Depletion is very important because the ozone layer in the stratosphere keeps about 95-99% of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation from striking the earth. Increased levels of radiation can cause eye damage and can hurt marine life.

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, HCFCs) and bromofluorocarbons. These highly stable compounds are capable of surviving the rise to the stratosphere, where Cl and Br radicals are liberated by the action of ultraviolet light. Each radical is then free to initiate and catalyze a chain reaction capable of breaking down over 100,000 ozone molecules. Ozone levels, over the northern hemisphere, have been dropping by 4% per decade. Over approximately 5% of the Earth’s surface, around the north and south poles, much larger (but seasonal) declines have been seen; these are the ozone holes.

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The Impact of Ozone Destruction

  • Ozone layer absorbs 99% of the harmful UV-B ray from solar radiation.
  • Without the ozone layer most of the harmful UV radiation will penetrate the atmosphere.
  • If UV-B reaches the earth surface, then the following would happen
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Ozone Depletion Substances

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OZONE DEPLETION SUBSTANCE LISTED IN MONTREAL PROTOCOL AND ITS AMENDMENTS

CFC

The natural refrigerants industry (i.e. hydrocarbon refrigerant industry) stands ready to deliver the range of solutions we need to keep cool without cooking the planet and destructing ozone layer. With on-going innovations the industry offers technologically mature, commercially feasible and climate friendly solutions.

(Source: Wikipedia, others)

Related posts:

Environmental Impact of Ozone Layer Depletion
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