Most of the earth’s atmospheric ozone is concentrated in one of the layers in the stratosphere , approximately 15-30 km above the Earth’s surface. Ozone is a molecule that contains three oxygen atoms that can only exist in specific circumstances in which the temperature and pressure are suitable. The ozone layer works as a barrier against radiation and allows ultraviolet light to pass through at the same time .
What is the ozone layer?
The ozone layer is the layer located in the stratosphere that contains, as its name indicates, ozone , which is responsible for playing a protective barrier role against solar radiation and also allows the passage of ultraviolet light , necessary for life.
- What is the ozone layer for?
- Where is it located
- Who discovered
- Contamination of the ozone layer
- Ozone layer destruction
- How to take care of the ozone layer
What is the ozone layer for?
The main function of the ozone layer is to absorb the ultraviolet radiation that comes from the Sun, thus protecting the Earth against its harmful effects. Without the existence of the ozone layer in the atmosphere , it would be very difficult for any living thing to survive on the surface.
Where is it located
The layer of the atmosphere that extends between 15 and 60 kilometers is called the stratosphere . This is the layer in which we can locate the ozone layer , which is found mainly in the lower portion of the stratosphere approximately 20 to 30 kilometers above the earth’s surface, although this measurement of thickness can vary seasonally. and geographically .
Ozone was originally thought to have been identified in 1839 by Christian Schonbein , a Swiss chemist who studied and searched for electrical discharges . When he found it, he gave it the name ozone , a word derived from the Greek term ” to smell “, this because it had a strong odor that was similar to the smell of electrical cables when they ignite on fire. However, Schonbein failed to adequately describe the molecular structure of ozone, which the scientist Jean-Luis Soret did in the 1860s. Despite failing to do so, Schonbein continued his research and was one of the first people to indicate that concentrations more high ozone level the soil could affect the health of people.
Its main characteristics are:
- Its color is blue in liquid form and red in solid form.
- It has a certain smell.
- It has more instability in air than water.
- It occurs naturally in the atmosphere.
- It is responsible for retaining 90% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays .
- It is made up of ozone molecules .
Ozone has the function of acting as a filter against ultraviolet radiation possessing a wavelength shorter and it is highly dangerous, protecting in this way the life, both animal and plant in the ground of their potentially harmful effects.
Contamination of the ozone layer
During the 20th century, the ozone layer has suffered serious alterations, mainly its weakening . This problem has been called the ozone hole . Today, there is widespread concern that the ozone layer is deteriorating due to the release of pollution containing chemicals , chlorine and bromine .
Ozone layer destruction
The hole in the layer is an area in which there are abnormal reductions in the amount of ozone. This phenomenon occurs most rapidly during the spring and in the regions of the poles . It is produced by the increase of chlorine and bromine in the layer known as the stratosphere due to the emanation of chemical compounds . The Antarctic “ozone hole” was revealed by scientists Joe Farman, Brian G. Gardiner and Jon Shanklin, and they found that there was a 50% reduction.
The chlorofluorocarbons are chemical substances found mainly in aerosols used by industries for years past 50 years, are the main culprits of the degradation of the layer of ozone. When these substances reach the upper atmosphere, they are exposed to ultraviolet rays, which causes them to break down into substances that include chlorine. The chlorine reacts with the oxygen atoms into ozone and tears the moleculeozone. The ozone layer over Antarctica has been particularly affected by pollution since the mid-1980s. The low temperatures in this region accelerate the conversion of CFC into chlorine, which rapidly and massively destroys the layer. The main countries that have damaged the layer have been the United States and Europe for the number of industries they have.
This damage to the layer allows large amounts of ultraviolet rays to reach Earth, and this can have devastating consequences for humans, such as skin cancer and cataracts in humans. This radiation inhibits the reproductive cycle of the phytoplankton and biologists fear that reductions in phytoplankton populations diminish the populationsof other animals. Researchers have also documented changes in the reproduction rates of young fish, shrimp and crabs, as well as frogs and salamanders exposed to excess UVB radiation. This damage to the layer allows large amounts of UV rays to reach Earth, And this can have devastating consequences for humans, just like skin cancer and cataracts in humans.
How to take care of the ozone layer
Some of the things we can do to help maintain and protect the ozone layer include the following:
- Use air conditioning and refrigeration equipment that does not use HCFC as a refrigerant.
- Buy aerosol products that do not use HCFC or CFC.
- Perform regular maintenance of air conditioning and refrigeration appliances to avoid and minimize refrigerant leaks.
- Recover or recycle the refrigerant when a general overhaul of the equipment is carried out.
- When vehicle air conditioners need to be repaired, they must be properly recycled rather than released into the atmosphere .
- Have more control in industries that release particles that damage the ozone layer.
- Avoid using sprays , hairspray , and cleaning products that damage the coat.
Ozone helps to protect the life on Earth by absorbing ultraviolet radiation from the sun, particularly UVB radiation can cause skin cancer, eye cataracts occur, damaging crops and destroy some types of marine life.