Shop Windows to the Universe

Our Glaciers: Then and Now activity kit helps you see the changes taking place in glaciers around the world. See all our activity kits and classroom activities.
This image shows the amount of ozone in Earth's stratosphere. The colors represent different amounts of ozone with purple and blue indicating very low levels of stratospheric ozone. Yellow and green represent higher levels of ozone. Notice the blue and purple spot over the South Pole which is the Antarctic ozone hole. The ozone levels are monitored by satellite.
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of NASA

Repairing the Antarctic Ozone Hole!
News story originally written on September 17, 2002

The ozone layer in the stratosphere is important for life on Earth because it shields the Earth from harmful solar radiation. Since 1974 scientists have been watching a hole grow in the ozone layer above the South Pole but now they have some good news. They say that the Antarctic ozone hole may close by 2050!

The ozone hole over Antarctica formed mainly by Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) destroying ozone. CFCs are a human developed compound that people have used since the 1930s in refrigerators and air conditioners. The chemical remains in the atmosphere, destroying the ozone, for decades. CFCs are able to break ozone apart when a chlorine atom from a CFC molecule, broken off by UV radiation, attacks an ozone molecule.

In 1987, countries around the world agreed to gradually produce less CFCs when they signed the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty to eliminate the production and consumption of ozone-depleting chemicals.

It looks like our efforts to cut down on activities that release CFCs are making a difference according to a recent study that says CFCs are declining. A United Nations report released Monday said CFCs in the atmosphere have been declining since 2000. We are now at a point where the atmosphere can actually remove CFCs faster than they are being released into the atmosphere, said Paul Fraser, a scientists and one of the authors of the United Nations report.


Last modified September 17, 2002 by Lisa Gardiner.

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

Our online store includes books on science education, classroom activities in The Earth Scientist, mineral and fossil specimens, and educational games!

Windows to the Universe Community

News

Opportunities

You might also be interested in:

Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

1999--A Year in Review...

It was another exciting and frustrating year for the space science program. It seemed that every step forward led to one backwards. Either way, NASA led the way to a great century of discovery. Unfortunately,...more

STS-95 Launch: "Let the wings of Discovery lift us on to the future."

The Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off from Kennedy Space Center at 2:19 p.m. EST, October 29th. The sky was clear and the weather was great as Discovery took 8 1/2 minutes to reach orbit for the Unitied...more

Moon Found Orbiting Asteroid

A moon was discovered orbiting the asteroid, Eugenia. This is only the second time in history that a satellite has been seen circling an asteroid. A special mirror allowed scientists to find the moon...more

U.S. is Fed Up with Russia

Will Russia ever put the service module for the International Space Station in space? NASA officials are demanding an answer from the Russian government. The necessary service module is currently waiting...more

More on Recent Coronal Mass Ejection

During a period of about two days in early May, 1998, the ACE spacecraft was immersed in plasma associated with a coronal mass ejection (CME). The SWICS instrument on ACE, which determines unambiguously...more

Mother Nature's Air Conditioning

J.S. Maini of the Canadian Forest Service has referred to forests as the "heart and lungs of the world." Forests reduce soil erosion, maintain water quality, contribute to atmospheric humidity and cloud...more

Planetary Alignment 2002

In late April through mid-May 2002, all five naked-eye planets are visible simultaneously in the night sky! This is includes Mercury which is generally very hard to see because of its proximity to the...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA