Ozone holes: causes and consequences of ozone holes

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Earth is undoubtedly the most unique planet in our solar system. This is the only planet fit for life. But we do not always appreciate this and believe that we are not able to change and disrupt what has been created over billions of years. In the entire history of existence, our planet has never received such loads that man gave it.

Ozone hole over Antarctica

There is an ozone layer on our planet, which is so necessary for our life. It protects us from the effects of ultraviolet rays from the sun. Without him, life on this planet would not be possible.

Ozone is a blue gas with a characteristic odor. Each of us knows this pungent smell, which is especially audible after rain. No wonder ozone in Greek means “smelling”. It is formed at a height of up to 50 km from the earth’s surface. But most of it is located at 22 24 km.

Causes of ozone holes

In the early 1970s, scientists began to notice a decrease in the ozone layer. The reason for this is the entry into the upper layers of the stratosphere of ozone-depleting substances used in industry, rocket launches, deforestation and many other factors. These are mainly chlorine and bromine molecules. Chlorofluorocarbons and other substances released by man reach the stratosphere, where, under the influence of sunlight, they break down into chlorine and burn ozone molecules. It has been proven that one chlorine molecule can burn 100,000 ozone molecules. And it keeps in the atmosphere from 75 to 111 years!

Falling ozone creates ozone holes in the atmosphere. The first was discovered in the early 80s in the Arctic. Its diameter was not very large, and the fall in ozone was 9 percent.

Ozone hole in the Arctic

An ozone hole is a large drop in the percentage of ozone in certain places in the atmosphere. The very word “hole” makes us understand this without further explanation.

In the spring of 1985, in Antarctica, the ozone content dropped by 40% over Halle Bay Station. The hole turned out to be huge and has already moved beyond Antarctica. In height, its layer reaches up to 24 km. In 2008, it was estimated that its size is already more than 26 million km2. It stunned the whole world. It became clear? that our atmosphere is in the most danger than we assumed. Since 1971, around the world, a layer of ozone has fallen by 7%. As a result of this, ultraviolet radiation of the Sun began to fall on our planet, which is biologically dangerous.

The consequences of ozone holes

Doctors believe that as a result of a reduction in ozone, the percentage of skin cancer and blindness due to cataracts increased. Human immunity also falls, which leads to various types of other diseases. The inhabitants of the upper layers of oceans suffer most of. These are shrimp, crabs, algae, plankton, etc.D.

Now the UN International Agreement has been signed on reducing the use of ozonedeferring substances. But even if you stop using them. It will take more than 100 years to close holes.

Ozone hole over Siberia

Is it possible to restore ozone holes?

To preserve and restore the ozone layer, it was decided to regulate the process of emission of ozonedefining elements. They contain bromine and chlorine. But that won’t solve the underlying problem.

To date, scientists have proposed one way to restore ozone using aircraft. To do this, it is necessary to release oxygen or artificially created ozone at an altitude of 12-30 kilometers above the Earth and disperse it with a special atomizer. So little by little the ozone holes can fill up. The disadvantage of this method is that it requires significant economic waste. In addition, it is impossible to release a large amount of ozone into the atmosphere at one time. Also, the process of transporting ozone is complex and unsafe.

Myths about ozone holes

As the problem of ozone holes remains open, several misconceptions have formed around it. So they tried to turn the depletion of the ozone layer into a fiction that is beneficial to industry, allegedly due to enrichment. On the contrary, all chlorfthorounded substances were replaced by cheap and safer components of natural origin.

Another false claim that supposedly ozone depleting freons are too heavy to reach the ozone layer. But in the atmosphere, all elements are mixed, and polluting components are able to reach the level of the stratosphere, in which the ozone layer is located.

You should not trust the statement that ozone is destroyed by halogens of natural origin, and not anthropogenic. This is not so, it is human activity that contributes to the release of various harmful substances that destroy the ozone layer. The consequences of the explosion of volcanoes and other natural disasters practically do not affect the state of ozone.

And the last myth that ozone is only destroyed over Antarctica. In fact, ozone holes form everywhere in the atmosphere, causing the amount of ozone to decrease in general.

Forecasts for the future

Since the ozone holes have become a global environmental problem of the planet, they have been closely monitored. Recently, the situation has become quite ambiguous. On the one hand, in many countries, small ozone holes appear and disappear, especially in industrialized areas, and on the other hand, there is a positive trend in the reduction of some large ozone holes.

During observations, researchers recorded that the largest ozone hole hung over Antarctica, and it reached its maximum size in 2000. Since then, judging by the pictures taken by satellites, the hole has been gradually closing in. These statements are presented in the scientific journal “Science”. Ecologists estimate that its area has decreased by 4 million. sq. kilometers.

Studies show that gradually from year to year the amount of ozone in the stratosphere increases. This was facilitated by the signing of the Montreal Protocol in 1987. In accordance with this document, all countries are trying to reduce emissions into the atmosphere, reducing the amount of transport. Especially in this matter, China succeeded. The appearance of new cars is regulated there and there is a concept of quota, that is, a certain number of license plates of cars can be registered a year. In addition, certain successes in improving the atmosphere have been achieved, because gradually people switch to alternative energy sources, there is a search for effective resources that would help maintain the ecology.

After 1987, the problem of ozone holes rose more than once. Many conferences and collections of scientists are devoted to this problem. Also, issues of ecology are discussed at the meetings of representatives of states. So in 2015, a climate conference was held in Paris, the purpose of which was to develop actions aimed against climate change. It will also contribute to lowering emissions into the atmosphere, which means that ozone holes will gradually be delayed. For example, scientists predict that by the end of the 21st century, the ozone hole over Antarctica will completely disappear.

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