The Ozone Layer
Ozone layer depletion slows
There is good news about the ozone layer above us. The good news about the ozone layer is not always frequent. On International Ozone Day, the report came in that the ozone levels have decreased above Montreal and other residents of southern Canada.
The ozone levels have decreased to a normal level. Normal meaning the levels have dropped from the levels reported in 1980. The ozone layer is an important and fragile part of earth. If we did not have an ozone layer between 10km and 50km, high ultraviolet radiation would pour through. This would create harmful living conditions for all lifeforms.
A high ozone depletion in 1987, led to the Montreal Protocol. In an effort to resolve ozone depletion, the protocol banned all harmful CFC’s and any other chemicals that affected the ozone. Ever since then the ozone depletion is slowly recovering.
The ozone layer will take years to recover, even after we remove all ozone destroying chemicals. An international panel believes the global levels of ozone depletion should improve by the year 2020, or even longer if Russia and other countries don’t meet their obligations.
Ozone Under Attack
The ozone is an invisible layer that protects us against the suns ultraviolet light. Over the years chlorofluro carbons from mostly industrial plants have been dissolving the ozone layer around the world. The heaviest deterioration is in the South Pole.
They found a huge hole over the South Pole, and the ozone depletion was at 50 percent. This was no extraordinary atmospheric phenomenon. When ultraviolet light hits a CFC molecule it creates a chlorine atom. The chlorine splits up the ozone molecule (0 |) into 0 X and 0. The chlorine attaches itself to the 0 atom making itself chlorine monoxide (CI0). It then gets rid of its 0 atom and replaces itself with another one. This process is repeated 100,000 times until the chlorine atom is finally neutralized.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, they predict that for every one percent drop in global ozone, there would be a one to three percent increase in skin cancer. Ultraviolet light can kill many forms of life, even bacteria. This is why ultraviolet light is used to sterilize surgical equipment. Ultraviolet also kills beneficial forms of life and can affect the life cycle of many organisms.