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The Ozone Layer and the Greenhouse Effect

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The Ozone Layer and the Greenhouse Effect Ozone, an allotrope of oxygen is present in the atmosphere in only tiny amounts. It is found almost entirely in the stratosphere. It is vital for our survival as it filters out harmful ultraviolet radiation. However if ozone reaches ground level it is harmful to human health. It weakens the body's immune system and attacks lung tissue. Ozone is extremely reactive and reacts with other gases very quickly but there are also reactions that are producing ozone and without human intervention this ozone would be in a steady state equilibrium. The natural reactions that involve ozone are: 1. O2 + h????O + O In this reaction h??indicates the photon of ultraviolet radiation that is absorbed. 2. O + O2 ??O3 3. O +?O ??O2 4. O + O3 ??O2 + O2 Reaction 2 is the one that produces the ozone and reaction 4 is the one that destroys it. ...read more.


The reaction occurs in a catalytic cycle: 1. Cl + O3 ??ClO + O2 The ClO is another radical able to react again 2. ClO + O ??Cl + O2 So now there are two reaction competing to destroy ozone 1. Cl + O3 ??ClO + O2 2. O + O3 ??O2 + O2 In the stratosphere there is a much lower concentration of Cl atom compared to O atoms, so it would seem that the reaction with Cl would be insignificant but chemists have measured the rate of reaction of Cl with ozone and have found it to be 1500 faster than the rate of reaction with O atoms. Also because Cl atoms are regenerated in a catalytic cycle they play a large part in removing ozone. In the 1930's scientist Thomas Midgley demonstrated a new refrigerant. He inhaled a lungful of dichlorodifluoromethane (CCl2F2) and used it to blow out a candle. ...read more.


and hydroflurocarbons (HFC's). The difference with these is that they contain a C-H bond which is quickly broken down in the troposphere before they have time to reach to stratosphere. Unfortunately they are not the perfect solution as they contribute to global warming. The Greenhouse effect occurs in the. Without it the Earth would be uninhabited. By trapping the Sun's radiation the atmosphere keeps the temperature high enough to support life. Greenhouse gases are gases that trap the Sun's radiation. Burning fossil fuels, therefore releasing CO2 can make more greenhouse gases effectively warming the Earth. The Sun radiates energy mainly in the ultraviolet and visible. The part that is absorbed helps to heat the Earth, and the Earth the radiates energy back into space. Some of the energy radiated is absorbed by the troposphere heat the Earth. This is known as the greenhouse effect. If we release to many greenhouse gases this will in turn heat the Earth more causing sea levels to rise as the ice caps melt. The rise in sea level will leave low-lying coastal place to disappear under-water. Tom Harbud 01/03/2001 ...read more.

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