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Ozone Depletion

Ozone Depletion

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Published by: hcl1239704 on Dec 30, 2010
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Ozone depletion
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaJump to:navigation, search  Image of the largest Antarctic ozone hole ever recorded (September 2006).
Ozone depletion
describes two distinct, but related observations: a slow, steady declineof about 4% per decade in the total volume of  ozone in Earth's stratosphere(theozone layer 
) since the late1970s,and a much larger, but seasonal, decrease in stratospheric ozone over Earth's polar regions during the same period. The latter phenomenon iscommonly referred to as the
ozone hole
. In addition to this well-known stratosphericozone depletion, there are alsotropospheric ozone depletion events,which occur near the surface in polar regions during spring.The detailed mechanism by which the polar ozone holes form is different from that for the mid-latitude thinning, but the most important process in both trends iscatalytic destruction of ozone by atomic chlorine and bromine.
The main source of thesehalogen atoms in the stratosphere is photodissociation of chlorofluorocarbon(CFC) compounds, commonly calledfreons, and of  bromofluorocarboncompounds known as halons. These compounds are transported into the stratosphere after being emitted at the surface.
Bothozone depletion mechanisms strengthened as emissions of CFCs and halons increased.CFCs and other contributory substances are commonly referred to as
). Since the ozone layer prevents most harmful UVB wavelengths(270–315 nm) of  ultraviolet light(UV light) from passing through theEarth's atmosphere,observed and projected decreases in ozone have generated worldwideconcern leading to adoption of theMontreal Protocolthat bans the production of CFCsand halons as well as related ozone depleting chemicals such ascarbon tetrachlorideandtrichloroethane. It is suspected that a variety of biological consequences such as increasesinskin cancer ,cataracts,
damage to plants, and reduction of  planktonpopulations in theocean's photic zonemay result from the increased UV exposure due to ozone depletion.
The ozone cycleThree forms (or allotropes
) of oxygen are involved in theozone-oxygen cycle:oxygen atoms (O or atomic oxygen), oxygen gas (O
or diatomic oxygen), and ozone gas (O
or triatomic oxygen).Ozoneis formed in the stratosphere when oxygen molecules photodissociateafter absorbing anultravioletphoton whose wavelength is shorter than 240 nm. This produces two oxygen atoms. The atomic oxygen then combines with O
tocreate O
. Ozone molecules absorb UV light between 310 and 200 nm, following whichozone splits into a molecule of O
and an oxygen atom. The oxygen atom then joins upwith an oxygen molecule to regenerate ozone. This is a continuing process whichterminates when an oxygen atom "recombines" with an ozone molecule to make two O
molecules: O + O
→ 2 O
Global monthly average total ozone amount.

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