What Is the Ozone layer?
No, ozone is not the bull's eye on a target! In fact, it's nothing you can see. Ozone is a naturally occuring gas found on the earth's atmosphere. At the outer edge of the atmosphere there is a thin layer of ozone gas that is critical to life on earth. It is the stratospheric ozone layer. This layer protects us from the harmful rays of the sun. If it weren't for the ozone layer, we'd get wicked sunburn, wreck our eyes, and kill our plants.
What Causes Reductions Of The Ozone Layer?
When certain chemicals used on earth escape into the atmosphere they are broken down by solar radiation and release chlorine and bromine atoms which, in a chainreaction, destroy ozone molecules. This reaction ocures more frequently than natural ozone replenishment, resulting in a thinning of the ozone layer.
Is The Ozone Layer Threatened?
Atmospheric measurements tell us that the ozone layer is getting thinner, and that at certain times of the year an ozone layer "hole" appears over Antarctica. Some people believe this reduction is due to solar or volcanic activity, but most scientists believe that certain man-made chemicals are major contributors to the problem. These chemicals include the chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) found in refrigerators, solvents and blowing agents for foams, and the halons used for fire fighting.