Do you want to know what the ozone layer is made of?
I’m sure you must have heard about the ozone layer, but let me give you a brief rundown of the ozone layer.
The Earth comprises four spheres which some will call subsystems and they are the lithosphere which contains everything on earth that is not living things, the biosphere comprises the living things, the hydrosphere comprises the water bodies whereas our major interest is the atmosphere which comprises air and her constituents.
It should interest you to know that the atmosphere is also comprised of different spheres which are essential for the survival of humans.
The atmosphere is comprised of basically five spheres which are the troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere, and exosphere.
The stratosphere is where the ozone layer that we hear about is found. In this region, the ozone layer can be safe for people, shielding us from harmful substances that come from the sun and space. About 9 to 18 miles (15 to 30 km) above the surface of the Earth, a layer of the stratosphere contains the majority of the atmosphere’s ozone.
Certainly, there are ozone molecules in the troposphere in which the air we breathe is contained. But this is very bad for our health if it’s in excess so, we have them as trace gases in the troposphere.
And this is caused by Nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds formed from the burning of fossil fuels coming from wildfires, our vehicles, and industries. You can see a reason why we need to stop fossil fuel burning.
Focusing on the stratosphere where we have the ozone layer. The stratosphere might not be deemed as important as the troposphere but, I can tell you that all spheres in our atmosphere are very important and without which, the doom of humanity is imminent.
The stratosphere is not only a safe location for ozone but, it also has a great impact on our weather among others. The ozone layer extends beyond the stratosphere though a significant amount of the ozone layer is contained in the stratosphere.
One can say the earth is covered by a transparent orb called the Ozone Layer.
Having known this, let’s look at the subject matter.
Things the ozone layer is made of
The ozone layer is composed of basically ozone. Now, what is ozone? As a child, I was shocked to find out that ozone is just oxygen that has undergone reactions from the sun. oxygen is abundant in the earth and when some of this oxygen moves past the troposphere is hit with ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
In this area, the ultraviolet rays from the sun break the bond between an oxygen molecule O2 making it free to move around. It doesn’t move around for long though as it merges with an oxygen molecule nearby to form the ozone molecule O3
Three oxygen atoms are loosely linked together to form the pale blue allotrope of oxygen known as ozone. It is an unstable gas that progressively breaks down into oxygen molecules. Even though ozone is extremely important to humans, it has a pungent smell.
Three oxygen atoms make up the highly reactive gas known as ozone (O3). It occurs in the stratosphere, the upper atmosphere of the planet, and the lower atmosphere of the planet (the troposphere). Ozone has both positive and negative effects on life on Earth, depending on its location in the atmosphere.
In the ozone-oxygen cycle, ultraviolet radiation continuously creates and destroys ozone in the stratosphere.
In the stratosphere, molecular oxygen absorbs UV and breaks into two rapidly moving atoms. The air molecules (nitrogen and oxygen) near these rapidly moving oxygen atoms slow them down, allowing them to weakly link with molecular oxygen to generate ozone. They simply bounce off if they are traveling too quickly!
The higher atmosphere is heated by the energy they exchanged with air molecules. Ozone is created when an oxygen molecule and an oxygen atom combine. The higher atmosphere is kept warm by the ozone’s ability to absorb ultraviolet light, which causes the ozone to split back into an oxygen atom and an oxygen molecule.
Once the oxygen atom is traveling slowly once more, the ozone reforms as it did before. Through the stratosphere, ozone is dispersed. The ozone is a gas that is dispersed over a distance of 20 to 30 kilometers, so if it were compressed into a solid, it would only have the thickness of a sheet of cardboard. The UV reached the earth’s surface before our atmosphere was enriched with oxygen, which prevented life from forming on the land.
It is important to remember that the German-Swiss chemist Christian Friedrich Schönbein made the initial discovery and isolation of ozone in 1839. Its name, ozone, comes from the Greek word “ozein”, which means “to smell”.
But why does ozone matter to us?
Simple. A portion of the sun’s radiation is absorbed by the ozone layer in the stratosphere, keeping it from reaching the planet’s surface. Most significantly, it absorbs UVB radiation, which is a type of UV light. Numerous negative consequences, including skin cancer, cataracts, damage to some crops, and harm to marine life have all been connected to UVB.
Human activities cause the emission of chemicals into the atmosphere that contains chlorine and bromine atoms. These substances trigger processes in the ozone layer, which degrade ozone molecules when combined with specific meteorological conditions. The ozone layer is depleting on a global scale, but the extreme loss over the Antarctic is frequently referred to as the “ozone hole.” Over the Arctic, depletion has just started to increase as well.
Though the mass production of these gases has stopped the gases are still in the stratosphere though they are massively declining.
The ozone layer is anticipated to return to pre-1980 levels over the mid-latitudes by 2050 and over the polar regions by 2065 due to international stands in handling with the situation.
How far is that?
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A passion-driven environmentalist by heart. Lead content writer at EnvironmentGo.
I strive to educate the public about the environment and its problems.
Let's see how we can mitigate these problems together.
It has always been about nature, we ought to protect not destroy.