CONCEPTS

What is the ozone layer?

We explain what the ozone layer is and what is its importance for planet Earth. Also, what are the holes in the ozone layer.

  1. What is the ozone layer?

The ozone layer is inside the Earth’s atmosphere and has the function of being a protective layer that precisely preserves the life of planet Earth , acting as a shield against the sun’s rays called UV or ultraviolet radiation, absorbing from 97 to 99 % her. It is located at a distance from the surface of the earth 15 to 50 kilometers high in greater concentration, although it is also present in the soil .

Ozone is a form of oxygen where the molecule has 3 atoms instead of 2 , as it always is. This third atom causes oxygen to become poisonous, just inhaling once ozone is deadly. This molecule is formed in the stratosphere (a layer of the atmosphere) by the action of solar radiation on these molecules, this is a process called photolysis.

This layer of the atmosphere was discovered in 1913 by two French physicists named Charles Fabry and Henri Buisson. Years later, a British meteorologist named Dobson examined its properties and developed an apparatus called a spectrophotometer, which allows the measurement of ozone from the Earth’s surface. Between 1928 and 1958 he established a worldwide ozone monitoring network. In his honor the unit of measure Dobson was established.

  1. The problems of the ozone layer

Thanks to some products generated by humans and called halocarbons, the destruction of the ozone layer has accelerated compared to its natural rhythm. This causes the thinning of the layer and that the well-known ozone holes are generated , with which the Earth loses protection against solar radiation. The passage of the strongest solar rays causes in human life diseases such as skin cancer or cataracts in the eyes.

Faced with this problem, the UN (United Nations Organization) on September 16, 1987, signed the Montreal Protocol and in 1994, the United Nations General Assembly declared on September 16 the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer.

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