UCSB Science Line
Sponge Spicules Nerve Cells Galaxy Abalone Shell Nickel Succinate X-ray Lens Lupine
UCSB Science Line
How it Works
Ask a Question
Search Topics
Our Scientists
Science Links
Contact Information
I wonder if you know of any web sites or information on the ozone layer.
Question Date: 1998-09-23
Answer 1:

I don't know exactly what about the ozone layer you are interested in, but there is a lot of information out there, especially on the web. Unfortunately, most of it is very technical and hard to understand. First off, ozone is a molecule made up of three oxygen atoms. (The oxygen gas that we breath in air has only two oxygen atoms). Ozone is created in the upper atmosphere by chemical processes and here on land by smog. Ozone on land is a pollutant, but in the upper atmosphere it actually does us a
very important service. The bonds between the oxygen atoms in ozone are just the right kind to absorb ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun, which is harmful to plants and animals. In large amounts or over long time periods of exposure, UV can damage DNA causing cancer or burn exposed cells (e.g. skin, eyes, plant leaves). Without the ozone layer, rates of skin cancer, sunburn and eye damage would increase dramatically, and many plants (including the ones we eat) would die.

One of the main sources of information on the current state of the ozone layer is satellite data. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has several satellites orbiting the Earth right now that can continuously measure the thickness of the ozone layer blanketing the entire Earth! The satellites relay this information to computers on land and scientists make color photos showing how much ozone is in the atmosphere above the entire Earth for a particular month. For example, this month there is a big "ozone hole" over the continent of Antarctica. You can see the photo at this web site: . Low ozone concentrations are shown in purple, high concentrations in red. There are several ozone holes that form seasonally over different parts of the Earth. There is usually a spot of low ozone over the equator, near Hawaii, because winds in the upper atmosphere blow away from the equator, and actually push the ozone toward the poles, concentrating it in high latitude areas north and south of the equator. (Ask your teacher how to find the continents that are at high latitudes on a globe. Which US states are nearest the equator, and so have low ozone?). The ozone hole that develops over Antarctica forms because the ozone is actually being destroyed. This ozone is permanently gone from our atmosphere (it is converted to oxygen gas) and because ozone is formed at a slow rate, it takes a long time to recover from even a little ozone destruction. The main cause of ozone destruction is the release of chlorofluorocarbons (CFC's) used in refrigerators and many spray cans. Check to see if you or your family use any spray cans containing hairspray, paint or other materials that contain CFC's.

The EPA has a great web site on ozone and the effects of ozone destruction:

You can find some facts about ozone at this web site maintained by the Canadian government:

Answer 2:

The ozone layer is a very interesting topic and one of great concern, especially near the poles where it has been damaged.The ozone layer is just that, a layer of the atmosphere where there is a larger amount of ozone than other parts of the atmosphere. By nature, ozone absorbs ultraviolet radiation and so protects us from excess radiation from the sun by absorbing much of it. If the ozone layer were to deteriorate more, getting sunburns and eventually skin cancer would become a much greater risk.
As for websites about the ozone layer, The country of Norway seems to have some concern about this and has a good educational site at http://www.grida.no/soeno97/ozone/index.htm. Another site with general information is http://www.enviro.org/artozne.html and a site with links to several more ozone related web pages is http://www.sej.org/env_stra.htm.
Hopefully these will tell you what you want to know. One question you might want to answer is what is the difference between stratospheric ozone (the ozone layer) and tropospheric ozone (ozone in the air near the ground) and what are the dangers of each?

Answer 3:

An excellent place to start a search on the web is from "yahoo.com". Since your question is about science, I went to their science section, and did a search on "ozone layer"; I found this site, which looks like it might be helpful to you:


It is described as:

"Stratospheric Ozone Depletion: resources for both teachers and students interested in the ozone layer. Includes a glossary and some of the controversies"

Click Here to return to the search form.

University of California, Santa Barbara Materials Research Laboratory National Science Foundation
This program is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and UCSB School-University Partnerships
Copyright © 2020 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.
UCSB Terms of Use