Monday, 5 December 2016

The Ozone Hole

The Justice League investigated the possible causes and effects of the ozone hole after reading "The Ozone Hole' by Dr Dave Lowe

The Ozone layer is a layer of gases that protect planet Earth from the damage caused by the sun’s harmful UV rays. In 1985, scientists discovered an “Ozone hole” over Antarctica. Since then governments from around the world signed an agreement to do what they can to cause no further damage to the Ozone hole. The damage to the Ozone layer was caused predominantly by the increased use of CFC’s (Chlorofluorocarbons).

Rhea and Heila:
A possible cause for the hole in the Ozone layer are CFC’s. CFC’s can cause the hole in the Ozone layer to gradually grow larger. CFC’s are a mixture of harmful gases like chlorine and fluorine. This harmful mixture of gases was used in spray cans. The Ozone layer protects us by absorbing 99% of the UV radiation in sunlight and without it those harmful UV rays can cause serious sunburns and skin cancer.

Caleb and Kaelem:
CFC’s were also used in many refrigerators and air conditioners. CFC’s were used because they didn’t cost as much as the older more harmful gasses, were not poisonous and did not cause any explosions. CFCs are understood to cause the hole in the ozone layer to gradually grow larger during springtime. The effect of this is that more damaging UV rays can slip through the hole causing plankton reduction. If the number of plankton is reduced dramatically many of the ocean’s food webs and food chains will be negatively affected, as plankton is a primary producer.

Joshua G and Sara:
Another possible cause of damage to the ozone layer is the release of chlorine from Polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs). The sun’s energy activates the release of chlorine from PSCs. PSCs are made of tiny crystals of acid (chlorine) mixed with ice. In springtime the ice melts releasing the chlorine gas into the air to mix with other chemicals. Without the ozone layer harmful UV rays will come through which could cause blindness because of the radiation, the heat and the brightness.

In the future to help protect and limit further damage to the ozone layer we need to limit the use of CFC’s in production of items such as spray cans, refrigerators and air conditioners. Other causes of damage are very hard for us to control such as the release of chlorine from PSC’s. Although many steps have been taken to protect the ozone, we need to continue to monitor the hole for many years to come.

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