This is a computer drawing of the two main chlorofluorocarbon (CFCs) molecules that release chlorine in the stratosphere, ultimately causing the destruction of ozone molecules.
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of COMET program
Ozone in the Stratosphere
Most of the ozone that
we know about is found in the the
stratosphere, the second layer of the Earth's atmosphere. Ozone forms a
kind of layer in the stratosphere. This layer shields us from the Sun's ultraviolet
light. This ultraviolet light can cause damage to people like giving them
skin cancer or causing tissue damage to their eyes. Ultraviolet
light can also be bad for plants and animals.
The ozone layer would be very good at its job of protecting Earth from too
much ultraviolet radiation
- that is, it would if humans did not contribute to things! Human-released chemicals
are speeding up the breakdown of ozone, so that there are "holes" now in our
ozone protection shield.
Scientists know about this problem. They have told governments around the
world that they need to stop making and releasing these harmful chemicals that
break down ozone in the stratosphere. Countries have started doing this, and
scientists are hoping that this will eventually heal the "holes" that were made
in the ozone shield.
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