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Ozone Layer

  • Date Submitted: 08/13/2010 09:50 AM
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Ozone layer

The ozone layer is a layer in Earth's atmosphere which contains relatively high concentrations of ozone (O3). This layer absorbs 97–99% of the sun's high frequency ultraviolet light, which is potentially damaging to life on earth. Over 90% of the ozone in Earth's atmosphere is present here.[1] It is mainly located in the lower portion of the stratosphere from approximately 13 km to 20 km above Earth, though the thickness varies seasonally and geographically. The ozone layer was discovered in 1913 by the French physicists Charles Fabry and Henri Buisson. Its properties were explored in detail by the British meteorologist G. M. B. Dobson, who developed a simple spectrophotometer (theDobsonmeter) that could be used to measure stratospheric ozone from the ground. Between 1928 and 1958 Dobson established a worldwide network of ozone monitoring stations which continues to operate today. The "Dobson unit", a convenient measure of the columnar density of ozone overhead, is named in his honour.
Ozone layer
The highest levels of ozone in the atmosphere are in the stratosphere, in a region also known as the ozone layer between about 10 km and 50 km above the surface (or between about 6 and 31 miles). Here it filters out photons with shorter wavelengths (less than 320 nm) of ultraviolet light, also called UV rays, (270 to 400 nm) from the Sun that would be harmful to most forms of life in large doses. These same wavelengths are also among those responsible for the production of vitamin D in humans. Ozone in the stratosphere is mostly produced from ultraviolet rays reacting with oxygen:
O2 + photon (radiation < 240 nm) → 2 O
O + O2 → O3
It is destroyed by the reaction with atomic oxygen:
O3 + O → 2 O2
The latter reaction is catalysed by the presence of certain free radicals, of which the most important are hydroxyl (OH), nitric oxide (NO) and atomic chlorine (Cl) and bromine (Br). In recent decades the...


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