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 1930’s 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.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Learn about Earth and space science, and have fun while doing it! The games
section of our online store
includes a climate change card game
and the Traveling Nitrogen game
You might also be interested in:
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
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
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
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
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
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
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