Presentation on OZONE DEPLETION

By Greg Moore, Ben Davison, Andy van Heel and Matt Lawson

   The ozone layer sits in the stratosphere approximately 25km above the Earth. It is made up of ozone gases that act like a blanket to stop too much UV radiation from the sun entering the atmosphere. As UV radiation hits the Ozone layer the ozone gas absorbs the radiation and turns it into oxygen. The Ozone layer prevents the harmful UV radiation entering the Earth, which is vital because too much of these UV rays can cause cancer, cataracts and DNA damage. Small amounts of ozone are constantly being made by the action of sunlight on oxygen. At the same time, ozone is being broken down by natural and unnatural processes that lead to ozone depletion. If this process is greater than the production of ozone then the ozone layer becomes thinner and less effective. 

Causes of Ozone Depletion
Ozone depletion occurs when the natural balance between production and destruction of stratospheric ozone is tipped in favour of destruction. The destruction of the Ozone layer is caused due to 1 main factor which is: The release of chemicals which contain chlorine and bromine such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFC s) into the atmosphere by human activity. CFC s are released into the atmosphere through the use of aerosols and cooling systems in fridges. The CFC s released into the atmosphere do not break down and therefore remain stable within the atmosphere for between 20 and 120 years. The chlorine contained within these CFC s break down the ozone gases in the ozone layer which further increases Ozone depletion. Emissions of CFC s have accounted for roughly 80% of total stratospheric ozone depletion.

Effects of Ozone Depletion   

An increase in UV radiation has been linked to an increase in skin cancer which effects fair skinned individuals who are at a greater risk than darker skinned people. Scientists have proven that a 1% depletion in ozone causes a 5% increase in cases of skin cancer, the depletion rate has been 6% since 1970 and therefore the number of cancer cases has increased rapidly. UV radiation has also increased the number of cases of cataracts, which affects people·s vision. Immunity to diseases has also been effected due to the increase in UV radiation entering the atmosphere. The depletion of ozone and increase in UV rays can also lead to DNA damage, which can be catastrophic.

Solutions to Ozone depletion
The ozone hole is here to stay for about 50 years before the ozone levels will start to return to their normal levels. 

Any ozone that we could artificially add would most likely be destroyed and would not help our problem in the long run. A different approach is to destroy the CFC's when they are in the troposphere with high-powered infrared lasers located on mountainsides. highAnother possible plan is to dump about 50,000 tons of ethane or propane into the Antarctic stratosphere each spring. The chemicals would transform active ozone-depleting chlorine into non-ozone depleting hydrochloride. ozonenonHowever, there are no official plans to try to fix the ozone hole in the Antarctic because we don't know enough about stratospheric mechanics to do so. By trying to fix the problem we might make it worse.

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