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Reducing Ozone Destruction

Describes how ozone depletion was discovered and how governments worldwide worked together to regulate the production and consumption of ozone-destroying chemicals.

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Saving the Ozone Layer

Saving the Ozone Layer

Credit: NASA
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ozone_altitude_UV_graph.svg
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

The ozone layer is a part of the stratosphere where the concentration of ozone is relatively high. The ozone layer filters out the highest energy ultraviolet radiation, UV-c, entirely, and lessens the amount of UV-b and UV-a that gets through.

Why It Matters

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

Average area of the ozone hole was the largest ever observed in 2006 [Figure2]

  • Rowland and Molina wrote a paper in 1975 that showed that CFCs would travel up to the ozone layer and destroy it.
  • Scientists thought that ozone loss would be gradual and worldwide, but a paper by Farman released data that Antarctic spring was the worst time for ozone.
  • The nations of the world came together to pass the Montreal Protocol, which protected the ozone layer from CFCs and other ozone destroying chemicals.
  • The largest Antarctic ozone hole was in September, 2006.

Explore More

With the link below, learn more about the Montreal Protocol. Then answer the following questions.

  1. Why don’t CFCs break up until they are above the ozone layer?
  2. What was the problem scientists had in convincing people that ozone destruction was a big problem early on?
  3. What were the sources of data that showed ozone loss was happening? What did they all show?
  4. Why was the participation of DuPont crucial to the process of regulating ozone-destroying chemicals?
  5. What is needed for science to convince policymakers and corporations that action must be taken to make a major change?
  6. What was needed for government and industry to work together to create and support the Montreal Protocol?
  7. How can the experience of drafting and passing the Montreal Protocol be recreated for climate change?


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