The ozone layer depletion is present in the highest layer of the earth’s atmosphere. The stratosphere rises to 30 miles above the earth’s surface. These regions of the stratosphere contain almost 90% of all ozone. However, the ozone layer is what protects the planet from the harmful ultraviolet rays received from the sun. The layer absorbs most of the UV rays and does not allow them to reach the earth. This way, it protects both plant and animal life on the planet. As you can imagine, if any damage caused to this protective layer, the effects on the earth and its inhabitants would be nothing short of catastrophic.
Effects On The Climate For Ozone Hole Depletion
- In the mid-1980s, damage caused to the ozone layer as a result of which the layer depleted. Discovered in that the release of a substance called CFC or chlorofluorocarbons. Hence, it was the main culprit. The continent of Antarctica suffered early on because of this ozone layer depletion. Scientists have discovered a massive hole in the ozone layer right above the continent, and this now threatens to cause enormous melting of the icecap.
- A depleted ozone layer is also known to cause an increase in malaria and other infectious diseases. Also, oceans are hard to be hit by any depletion in the ozone layer. Any significant increase in the UV radiation may cause harm to the tiny micro-organisms that live in the oceans, like planktons. Itis will set off a chain reaction, which will end up severely affecting plants. However, the vegetation life cycles and causing irreparable damage to entire ecosystems.
- To understand the gravity of the situation, we have to look at what effects even a minor ozone depletion can cause. However, every time some fraction of the ozone layer is lost. More of the harmful ultraviolet rays can reach the earth. It has shown that for every 1% of ozone layer depletion, 2% more UV-B (the harmful UV rays) can reach the earth. This UV-B increase is the most alarming consequence of ozone layer depletion because it is one of the significant causes of skin cancer.
Cause Of The Depletion
However, the ozone hole created for gas CFCs. The ozone hole is slowly closing. Sure this is a good thing. Well, scientists don’t agree wholly on much of anything. So, now apparently, there is some concern in the scientific community. They think that the increased ozone levels are leading to increased cloud cover in the Antarctic. Or perhaps they are leading to decreased cloud cover. Cloud cover affects temperature, and various scientific factions seem to believe that the increased ozone levels will either help slow down global warming and climate change or speed it up. Data is incomplete on both sides.