Ozone layer is a deep layer that is found in the stratosphere encircling the earths. The layer constitutes ozone gas, which shields the earth from harmful radiations from the sun. It is rarely found in the troposphere, as about 90 percent if found in the stratosphere where it forms the ozone layer. The layer plays important roles that have positive effects on humans and all living things. The major role of the ozone layer in the stratosphere is to absorb radiations that are biologically harmful which creates heat that plays a role in the atmosphere of the earth. Ozone in the troposphere is harmful to a living thing thus contrasting with the benefits of the stratosphere ozone.
There are environmental issues that are associated with the depletion of the ozone layer as it increases in the troposphere and the decreased concentration in the stratosphere. This has led to negative effects to the earth’s surface. The depletion of the ozone layer is associated with human activities which produce chemicals that affect the stratospheric ozone decreases. Measures have been taken to mitigate the rate by which depletion of the ozone layer is accelerated through the use of substances that are ozone friendly. Ozone plays a major role in protecting the ecosystem from the effects of radiation, although its ample presence in the troposphere is harmful.
Ozone layer is a thin layer that is made of ozone gas in the stratosphere. It is found in minute amount which plays a major role in the atmosphere that balances the atmospheric conditions. The largest part of ozone is found in the stratosphere that comprises of 90 percent, while 10 percent if found in the troposphere. The layer is estimated to be 30 miles and it starts around 6-10 miles above the service of the earth. The ozone layer covers the earth’s life from the harmful effects of sun radiation. The stratospheric ozone has been declining lately changing decreasing in composition. Evidence has showed that there is a continued thinning of the layer during seasons of spring and summer in the extreme northern and southern hemispheres.
The reduction in the layer has increased the level of radiation in the earth’s surface which has adverse effects to plant growth and animal health. The radiation affects human through sunburns, eye damages and early skin aging with the rise in the rate of skin cancer. The productivity of plants has also been affected in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, due the planktons which are very sensitive to the UV radiations. The agents of ozone depletions vary potentially with the degree to which they accelerate depletion. Halons have been described to be the most efficient than the Chlorofluorocarbons, CFCs. The halons and CFCs released to the atmosphere take several years to reach the stratosphere where they are excited by the sun ultraviolet rays to react with ozone consequently depleting it (Gleaso, 2008).
Increases in UV radiation have an adverse impact on the ecosystem both in the ocean and land by interfering with the food-chain. The rate of green house gases has also increased as the effectiveness of carbon sinks has been reduced leading to retention of large amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Air pollution becomes eminent with depletion of stratospheric ozone as other radicals are excited by the UV in the troposphere hence increasing the amount of troposphere ozone. Thus, the need calls to focus on the significance of the ozone layer in the atmosphere.
The realization of importance of the ozone layer to the atmosphere has led to many researches being carried out to establish the significance of ozone to earth’s life. The ozone layer is made up of ozone gas (O3), which is a combination of an oxygen atom and an oxygen molecule. The combination of these atoms is influenced but the UV radiation which subsequently absorbs these radiations from reaching the earth’s surface. Ozone gas reacts with virtually everything it comes into contact with, thus positive and negative effects. The formation of ozone layer is a continuous cycle where the oxygen atoms are combined to form the ozone gas through the influence of the UV radiations (Fierro, O'Rourke, & Burgess).
This UV radiation consequently influences the disintegration of ozone molecules to oxygen molecule and oxygen atom thus retaining its composition in the stratosphere. The presence of other elements in the ozone layer accelerates the disintegration of ozone gas then its formation which leads to depletion of the layer. Halogens and CFCs are the main contributors to the depletion of the ozone layer. These molecules when released in the atmosphere can ascend to the stratosphere slowly taking up to seven years. The presence of the UV radiations influences their reaction with the ozone gas to form other molecules which are released to the troposphere (Buzzlecom, 2011).
The stratospheric ozone is formed at the hot zone of the atmosphere where it absorbs the UV which would otherwise damage the biological structure by allowing a small amount of these UV radiations. The absorption of the UV radiations by the ozone layer creates the heat source which forms the stratosphere where temperatures rise with the increase in attitudes. The structure of the earth temperatures is influenced by the ozone layer, as more of the UVs radiations would reach the earth’s surface, which could have adverse effects on plants and animals due to the exposure. The troposphere ozone that comes into direct contact with the earth’s life has indicated its harmful effects. The reaction of ozone with other molecules increase levels has effects on the living system that are toxic (de Gruijl, 1995).
Ozone increase in the troposphere has raised concerns due to its key role in photochemical smog in the world, and the increased losses of ozone in the stratosphere the depletion of this useful layer that has seen the penetration of the UV radiations to the ground level. There are various factors that contribute to the depletion of the ozone layer in the stratosphere and the increase in the troposphere. Human activities have been found to contribute to a larger extent in the composition of ozone gas in the atmosphere. The continued use of the CFCs by humans is the major contributor to the depletion of the layer, as they account for 80 percent of total contributors. The stability of this compound in the troposphere was taken as an advantage in relation to pollution effects of air, but the adverse effects were realized later when it was discovered that the compound raised to the stratosphere slowly. Its exposure to the UV radiations in the stratosphere caused its integration to highly reactive molecule of chlorine and bromine (Tevini, 1993).
These reactions subsequently contributed to reduction of the ozone layer composition increasing the rate of UV radiations penetrations. The reaction resulted in formation of other compounds that were released to the atmosphere causing pollution to the air. The reaction involves the free chlorine molecules reacting with the oxygen atom of ozone gas to form an chlorine monoxide and an oxygen molecule. This process continues leading to the reduction of ozone in the stratosphere (A giant sunshade). The penetration of the UV radiations into the troposphere, therefore, increases the rate at which the ozone gas is formed, as this enhanced the increased composition of the troposphere ozone. The depletion of ozone in the stratosphere leads to increased ozone in the troposphere thus increase of the UV radiation exposure and ozone gas.