Chem 110 Blog, Spring 2016 – Ozone Layer

For my CHEM 110 blog assignment I decided to write about the ozone layer.  We talked extensively about the ozone layer in class and this piqued my interest in it.  I had learned, briefly, about the ozone layer in classes in middle and high school but I did not really know very much about it before taking this class.  We talked about a lot of interesting topics in CHEM 110, but I think that the ozone layer was by far the most interesting.  I liked this topic because the ozone layer is vital for our very existence, but there are things that threaten it, and therefore threaten us.  I find it interesting how our lives can be so dependent on something like the ozone layer, especially when the molecule ozone is dangerous to us when it is found in large quantities outside of the ozone layer.

The ozone layer is located in the stratoshpere (the second closest level of the atmosphere) and it is between twenty and thirty kilometers above the ground.

The reason that the ozone layer is so very important to us lies in the special properties that ozone has.  The ozone layer is our main protection from the harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays that the sun emits.  These UV rays contain solar radiation form the sun that can be incredibly harmful to us.  Unfortunately, the ozone layer cannot stop all of the UV rays from reaching us, but it does come very close.  The reason that some people get skin cancer from spending too much time in the sun is because the ozone layer cannot stop all of the UV radiation; but it does come very close and if it were not for the ozone layer we would all be in trouble.  This is why it is so important for us to take care of the environment and the ozone layer by doing things like limiting the use of CFCs.

Ozone has some very distinctive properties that are unique to that molecule.  It is an allotrope of oxygen (just like oxygen gas is).  Ozone is also mostly found within the ozone layer, but it can be found in other places.  Ozone can be produced when lightning strikes.  Surprisingly, ozone may also be found near bumper cars and even model trains.  Ozone is good for us when it is way up in the ozone layer, but it can be harmful when we interact with it.  Ozone has a foul odors, can be an irritant when you come into contact with it, and it is also a pollutant when it is produced in high concentrations.

Ozone levels have been monitored since the year 1956 when ground based measurements began.  Later, satellite based measurements began in the year 1978.

This is a depiction of the ozone hole that manifests annually over Antarctica due to ozone depletion worldwide.

It is very important for us to protect the ozone layer because it protects our lives.

One little known fact about ozone is that it was used in the First World War to treat gangrene, trenchfoot, and also to disinfect wounds.  This is a very important substance and I am very glad to have learned about it.  This fact was found from http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/top10facts/511282/Ten-things-you-never-knew-about-ozone

 

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