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Ozone Depletion

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What is Ozone?
How the Ozone Layer Can Be Damaged
Effects of a Damaged Ozone Layer
Saving the Ozone Layer

What is Ozone?

Ozone is an unusual molecule of oxygen.  Normal oxygen molecules consist of two atoms, but ozone is made of three.  Also unlike normal oxygen, which lacks color, ozone is a bluish hue.

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ozone molecule

The Ozone Layer

     The ozone layer is a large acummulation of ozone in the atmosphere.  Specifically, it is located in the stratosphere.  To get an idea of how far from Earth's surface the ozone layer is, the stratosphere is where jets fly.  It is called a layer because the ozone is in an usually large quantity compared to the atmosphere around it.
     This huge blanket of abnormal oxygen serves a vital purpose for earth.  Without it, life would be impossible.  The sun, along with heat, sends ultraviolet(UV) radiation to earth.  These UV rays are harmful to both animals and plants, causing deformities and mutations.  The ozone layer acts as a shield and absorbs those rays, preventing them from reach the earth.  Some of those rays reach Earth, but to a much lesser extent than in the absence of the ozone.

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The Ozone Hole

     Already the harmful results of this environmental problem have been seen in the world.  Once a year, in the summer, an atmosphere over Antarctica suffers a severe loss of ozone molecules.  As seen in the image below, this "hole" as been increasing in size over the past years.  It is thought also to be lasting longer.  If something isn't done to stop the depletion of this necessariy component of Earth, it is on its way unhindered to become even more dangerous.

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     As you can see, the area near Anarctica progressively changes to blue and purple, a decreasing of the ozone.

 

By: Jason Cole, James Bunkley, and Collin Burchins