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Composition of the Atmosphere

Nitrogen and oxygen are the major gases in the atmosphere; the minor gases include carbon dioxide.

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Ozone Recovery

Ozone Recovery

Credit: NASA
Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:NASA_and_NOAA_Announce_Ozone_Hole_is_a_Double_Record_Breaker.png
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

The 2006 ozone hole was the largest on record. The holes are beginning to get a bit smaller; the 2012 and 2013 holes were relatively small.

Why It Matters

  • CFCs take 50 to 100 years to break down so the ozone layer won’t recover until the end of the century.
  • Atmospheric chlorine (which breaks off from the CFC molecules) might reach the values of the 1960s in the middle of the century.
  • There is also depletion of ozone in the Arctic and globally.

Explore More

With the links below, learn more about the future of the ozone layer. Then answer the following questions.

  1. Why is ozone depletion more extreme in Antarctica?
  2. If the Montreal Protocol was signed in 1987, why is there still an ozone hole?
  3. What is predicted to happen to the ozone hole over the next several decades?
  4. What do you think would be the result of ozone depletion over the Arctic was the same as it is over Antarctica?


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