ozone layer depletion

Synonyms

ozone depletion

Definition

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Wikipedia definition:

Ozone Depletion describes two distinct but related phenomena observed since the late 1970's: a steady decline of about four percent in the total amount of ozone in Earth's stratosphere (the ozone layer), and a much larger springtime decrease in stratospheric ozone around Earth's polar regions. The latter phenomenon is referred to as the ozone hole. In addition to these well-known stratospheric phenomena, there are also springtime polar tropospheric ozone depletion events. The details of polar ozone hole formation differ from that of mid-latitude thinning but the most important process in both is catalytic destruction of ozone by atomic halogens. The main source of these halogen atoms in the stratosphere is photodissociation of man-made halocarbon refrigerants, solvents, propellants, and foam-blowing agents (chlorofluorocarbon (CFCs), HCFCs, freons, halons). These compounds are transported into the stratosphere by winds after being emitted at the surface. Both types of ozone depletion were observed to increase as emissions of halocarbons increased. CFCs and other contributory substances are referred to as ozone-depleting substances (ODS). Since the ozone layer prevents most harmful UVB wavelengths (280–315 nm) of ultraviolet light (UV light) from passing through the Earth's atmosphere, observed and projected decreases in ozone generated worldwide concern, leading to adoption of the Montreal Protocol that bans the production of CFCs, halons, and other ozone-depleting chemicals such as carbon tetrachloride and trichloroethane. It is suspected that a variety of biological consequences such as increases in sunburn, skin cancer, cataracts, damage to plants, and reduction of plankton populations in the ocean's photic zone may result from the increased UV exposure due to ozone depletion.

Source: Wikipedia - Ozone depletion