Ozone Layer Definition

by Laurent
(Montreal)

The ozone layer is the part of our atmosphere that traps heat from the sun and protects us from ultraviolet radiation.

More specifically, the ozone layer resides in the stratosphere.

When this layer becomes thicker due to the accumulation of greenhouse gases, the troposphere warms up, a phenomenon known as the greenhouse effect.

History

In 1985, holes found in the ozone layer were first announced by Joe Farman, Brian Gardiner and Jonathan Shanklin.

Afterwards, scientists from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) re-analyzed data from satellites and discovered that ozone depletion affected the whole of the Antarctic.

The Montreal Protocol

In 1987, the Montreal Protocol was created to protect the ozone layer by banning ozone depleting substances, particularly chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) which remain in the atmosphere for about 50-100 years.

This international treaty has undergone seven revisions and is now ratified by 197 states as well as the European Union.

Today, it is not only the most ratified United Nations treaty in history, but is also considered one of the most successful international treaties to date.

In fact, the ozone layer is expected to recover by the year 2050 as a result of the Montreal Protocol.

Ozone Layer and Climate Change

Although the depletion of the ozone layer and climate change are not directly related, they share the same cause.

In effect, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are responsible for both global warming and the depletion of the ozone layer.

This is because CFCs bind with ozone thus causing ozone layer destruction, and because CFCs are a powerful greenhouse gas that will contribute to the aforementioned greenhouse effect.

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