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Causes of Ozone Layer Depletion: FAQ about Ozone Layer: Part-2

written by: Haresh Khemani • edited by: Lamar Stonecypher • updated: 1/21/2010

On this day of September 16, marked as the Ozone Layer Day, let use try to know some of the basics of ozone layer like what it is, its importance, how it gets depleted, effects of its depletion, how to prevent depletion of ozone layer, Montreal Protocol, our role in preventing ozone layer etc.

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    More FAQs About Ozone Layer

    5) How is the ozone measured in the atmosphere?

    - The ozone layer in the atmosphere is measured by a number of instruments kept in the balloons, aircraft and the satellites with their main control unit being on the earth. The air can also be drawn into the instruments to know the exact proportion of ozone in the atmosphere. Some methods are based on the ozone layers’ capacity to absorb the light.

    6) How is the ozone layer destroyed in the atmosphere?

    - The main cause of the destruction of ozone layer are the atoms of chlorine and bromine. When the gases containing these atoms are released from any process on the surface of the earth, they get accumulated in the lower layers of the atmosphere since they are non-reactive. These gases have very long life, sometimes even extending to more than hundred years. The gases containing chlorine and bromine slowly rise in the upper layers of the atmosphere. When they reach the stratosphere, the chlorine and bromine atoms get separated from the gas. They react with ultraviolet rays protecting ozone layer and convert it into O2, oxygen, which cannot protect the ultraviolet rays coming to the surface of the earth.

    7) What are the various emissions that cause ozone layer depletion?

    - As seen above the main cause of the ozone layer depletion are chlorine and bromine. The gases containing these atoms are called halogen source gases. The most commonly used halogen gases are Chlorofluorohydrocarbons also called CFCs and Hydro chlorofluorohydrocarbons, also called as HCFCs. These are mostly used in the refrigerators and the air-conditioners. The halogen gases used in the fire extinguishers contain bromine atoms.

    8) What are some of the halogen gases that destroy ozone layer?

    - Some of the halogen gases that destroy the ozone layer include Chlorine monoxide (ClO) and Bromine monoxide (BrO). When these gases reach the ozone layer, the chlorine and bromine atoms are separated and they react with ozone layer converting it into oxygen.

    9) What is the impact of chlorine and bromine atoms?

    - Chlorine and bromine atoms from halogen gases and halocarbons react with the ozone layer converting it into oxygen. A single atom of chlorine or bromine can destroy hundreds of molecules of ozone before reacting with some other gas and breaking the cycle. A small amount of chorine or bromine gas has huge impact on the ozone layer. Their impact is even more in the Polar Regions, since atoms of chlorine and bromine has the tendency to reach very higher levels in the cold atmospheres.

International Ozone Day Special

Today, September 16, we celebrate International Ozone Day to commemorate the signing of Montreal Protocol on this day of 1987. The aim of the protocol is to phase out the use and production of ozone depletion causing gases from various parts of the world in various phases.
  1. September 16: International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer
  2. What is Ozone Layer? Importance of Ozone Layer: FAQ about Ozone Layer: Part-1
  3. Causes of Ozone Layer Depletion: FAQ about Ozone Layer: Part-2
  4. What is Ozone Hole and what are its Causes? FAQ about Ozone Layer: Part-3
  5. What is Montreal Protocol and what are its Impacts? FAQ about Ozone Layer: Part-4

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