Ozone Depletion Sets Record
News story originally written on October 14, 1998
The ozone hole over the South Pole is larger than it has ever been since
scientists discovered it in the 1980's. They use the Total Ozone Mapping
Spectrometer (TOMS) and the Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet Instrument
(SBUV) to measure the ozone levels.
Ozone absorbs ultraviolet light, which is a harmful part of sunlight. UV
rays cause sunburns.
Scientists aren't worried about the hole continuing to grow. They think
that the record size this year was due to temperatures in the
that were colder
than normal. But it is still a problem for
people in the southern hemisphere. They could face higher UV levels as
the hole breaks up and the low-ozone air spreads out and dilutes the
ozone in other places.
Ozone is measured in Dobson units. The average ozone level is 300 Dobson
units. This is a layer of ozone about 3 millimeters thick--how thick the
layer would be if you took everything besides ozone out of the air.
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