Hole in the ozone layer?
Is there really a hole in the ozone layer?
That depends on what one means by a "hole". There is a thinning of the
layer that is particularly severe during certain seasons at the poles. But
the ozone layer is thinning most everywhere. The thinning around the south
pole of earth is particularly stunning, and has been referred to as a hole
even though some ozone still exists there, it is much less concentrated.
As you may know, this ozone destruction is probably due to human release
of pollutants such as clorofluorocarbons (CFCs) an due to natural sources
such as chemicals from volcanic eruptions. CFCs are used is cooling systems such as
refrigerators and air conditioning. There is an international agreement to phase out
the use of these destructive chemicals but they won't be banned entirely for years for
fears of losing money. Meanwhile the ozone layer thins and we are exposed to
increasingly higher doses of cancer causing radiation.
Click here to return to the Biology Archives
Update: June 2012