What is the ozone layer?
Why is the ozone layer important?
Why is the ozone layer significant? This protective shield is vital to ensure the life of all living beings on the planet, which are vulnerable to the effect of exposure to these UV-B radiations.
Because they affect the health of people, animals, and plants, unable to withstand them. These radiations also cause cancer and serious illnesses associated with animal species’ immune system destruction.
And when UV-B rays hit the Antarctic surface, they cause the disappearance of phytoplankton, the basis of the food chain, destabilizing marine ecosystems. And when UV-B rays hit the Antarctic surface, they cause the disappearance of phytoplankton, the basis of the food chain, destabilizing marine ecosystems.
Why is the ozone layer destroyed? Main causes!
In recent decades, this protective shield considerably reduced. The abusive use in the emission of polluting gases used by man in industrial activities has generated a decrease in ozone concentrations in the terrestrial stratosphere.
Phenomenon popularly known as a hole in the ozone layer, when it is really a reduction of this special layer in the stratosphere caused by the massive destruction of ozone molecules, composed of three oxygen molecules that are very reactive when in contact with chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs.
Chlorofluorocarbons or CFC’s
The consequence of the use of CFCs is that these chemicals used in industry, trigger the breakdown of the molecules that make up the ozone, forming oxygen (0) and Doxygen or molecular oxygen (02), a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas.
They then rejoin to repel UV-B radiation. CFCs are saturated hydrocarbons composed of chlorine, fluorine, and carbon. By reacting with the upper layer of the atmosphere, these chemicals trigger a reaction that ends up producing chlorine monoxide.
Among other applications such as cleaning chemicals, fumigation of soils in agricultural activities, equipment used in firefighting.
These are called depleting substances ozone layer (ODS) prohibited since 1987, following the commitment made by the world’s most industrialized nations to protect the ozone layer, sealed in the Montreal Protocol.
List of chlorofluorocarbons or CFC’s
Some of these ODSs have such a high residual power that they can remain in the environment for around 100 to 400 years. In addition to CFCs, there are other potentially harmful ones, but let’s take a look at the complete listing:
- Methyl chloroform
- Carbon tetrachloride
- Methyl bromide
Consequences of the destruction of the ozone layer
The consequences of the action of these substances in the atmosphere are varying. Let’s see.
Phytoplankton extinction in the Antarctic
The expansion of ultraviolet rays in Antarctica and other cold areas of the planet has caused the loss of phytoplankton, the food base of marine species, and a very important agent of carbon dioxide sequestration, one of the gases responsible for climate change that is wreaking havoc worldwide.
It estimates that between 6 to 12% of the phytoplankton destroy by this phenomenon.
Reduction in global food production
Another consequence is the reduction of marine wildlife, losing about 7 million fish needed for the human diet every year.
Especially in coastal areas, according to official reports from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
Food production cycles in the field alter because the growth and flowering cycles of plants subjected to these radiations disrupt, resulting in a considerable decrease in the agricultural production of vegetables and fruits in the fields.
The filtration of ultraviolet-B rays into the earth’s atmosphere generates serious diseases such as skin cancer, respiratory problems such as asthma, damage to the DNA chain.
Producing failures in the immune system that trigger other diseases of infectious type, issues in the sense of vision, because they appear ailments such as cataracts and blindness and presbyopia.
Harm to health
In animals, it also causes skin and bone cancer, as well as other diseases that end up killing them.
Climate change and ozone depletion
Another consequence of more recent scientific discovery associates climate change with the phenomenon of the so-called hole in the ozone layer.
Because evidence obtains, very important changes in the patterns of precipitation or rainfall and temperatures in the Southern Hemisphere of the Earth, tied to the reduction of the ozone layer by more than 65% in recent decades.
All these changes have altered life in marine ecosystems, with the removal or death of thousands of fish that have moved to other regions in search of food in the face of the destruction of phytoplankton, which forces them to change habitat to survive.
There have also been temperature changes in the oceans. Cold ones have become warmer and vice versa. The changes in Antarctica have repercussions for the entire planet because damage to the ozonosphere has caused a shift called the Antarctic Oscillation.
Which consists of a gigantic mass of wind that travels or moves from north to south, altering weather patterns, with changes in rainfall periods, as well as alterations in sea surface temperature, with a high impact on the life of ecosystems, both aquatic, marine and terrestrial.
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