Ozone Layer

Problem

Without the Ozone layer life on Earth would not exist. The Ozone layer is a layer of gas that is about 9.3 to 18.6 miles above the Earths surface. The ozone is a huge roll in the earths existence. It protects us from ultraviolet rays (UV). Recent studies show that diseases such as skin cancer and catarcts all have raised. There is a hole in the ozone which helps the rates of diseases like those raise. We are not the only things being harmed by a hole in the ozone. Organisms called phytoplankton are the beginning of the seas food web. With less organisms for other fish to eat there is going to be more competition for food and smaller population numbers.
external image ozone_hole_1979_2008_big.jpg
http://www.windows2universe.org/earth/Atmosphere/images/ozone_hole_1979_2008_big.jpg

Location

The hole is located above Antarctica. The hole was first noticed in 1980. Why is the hole over Antarctica when nobody even lives there? Well CFC's are a large reason to why the hole is there and they have a lifespan of decades allowing wind to take them high into the atmosphere and move them all around. Just happens to be the most of them ended up in the South Pole. The hole apears every year from September to November at that time is the South Poles spring. That means each year there are loads of radiation finding its way into Earth's atmosphere.

external image ozone_hole.jpg


http://whyfiles.org/173skin_cancer/images/ozone_hole.jpg

Impact

There is a large impact on ecosystems all around the world because of the ozone. Phytoplankton are a huge part in the oceans ecosytems and they are dieing from the ozones depletion. Studies show that if the ozone depletes to 16% that would cause 7 tons less fish each year. The reason we would lose more fish is because the plankton are the bottom of the food chain. With less plankton there is less food for other fish to eat. That would drop the oceans carrying capacity because there is not enough food. Fish are not the only animals it effects, we have many problems thrown our way too. There are many diseases/illnesses that we have to watch a bit more. Melanoma which is generally a cancerous form of skin cancer.
Skin cancer is the fastest growing cancer over all others. This is mainly caused from the UV rays being able to dig its way into earths atmosphere. It could take decades for the ozone to repair, but for that to happen the problem lies in our hands we created it and we need to fix it. The whole food web is taking a large impact it doesn't take much to knock it off its path and to decrease populations everywhere.
external image ozone_hole_2003.gif
http://www.wunderground.com/education/ozone_hole_2003.gif

Solutions

The ozone isn't going to fix itself magically. This will be a process of about 50 years as long as we don't do anything else to break it apart. Some people are saying that we could just create it and release it into the air. Others say that it would interupt that stratospheres balance. If it didnt balance it wouldnt help us at all in the long run. Another possible way would be to shine infared lasers into the sky were the CFC's are. A CFC's molecule is dense and isnt able to take more than 30 infared photons without being destroyed. That would be a good start to clear the atmosphere of the CFC's destroying our ozone. Another way would be to release about 50,000 tons of propane or ethane into the antartica air. The only problem is that it would have to happen each spring because the chemicals would decompose eventually. It is definitly not a cheap process so that is a large drawback from being able to do that. There are ways that we plan to help improve it but scientists say that the ozone won't begin to repair until at least 2020.

Future Outlook

The ozone is definitly going to take awhile to repair, we are not expecting to fall asleep wake up and the ozone is completly fixed. It is going to be a long process. Things need to be done right there should be no messing around, and definitly no mistakes. Everybody can help a little bit if we just learned a little about the topic. If we are lucky the ozone will be prepared by 2050 were talking 39 years to fix a problem we created. I definitly think that we need to make sure the products we use don't hurt the enviornment, before we start having them swept off the shelves. If we don't do anything to help the ozone it will eventually go away and life will on earth will most likely be gone. So far they have just banned CFC's so that they dont keep eating away at the ozone.

Works Cited

1997-2001 "Biosphereial Instruments" http://uv.biospherical.com/student/page2.html
Charles Welch 1987-2000 http://www.theozonehole.com/consequences.htm
Free Hit Counter http://skincancerlive.com/2008/05/26/the-link-between-ozone-and-melanoma/
2011 Flat Planet http://flatplanet.wikispaces.com/Possible+Solutions