Essay on Climate Change and It’s Effects: Ozone Hole
The release of greenhouse gases into the environment has increased significantly over the past few years. This has brought about many debates concerning the differences between global warming and ozone depletion. Ozone hole is described as the area of the earth’s stratosphere which comprises of a low amount of ozone in the atmosphere. A large ozone hole currently exists over Antarctica. Ozone is a natural gas that occurs in the atmosphere (Smith et al., 2013). The gas comprises of tri-atomic oxygen molecules made through the disintegration of oxygen molecules into single atoms of oxygen. The single atoms in the atmosphere then recombine into tri-atomic units through the catalysis of ultraviolet radiation. Ozone may be harmful when released into the lower areas of the earth’s atmosphere. However, the role played by ozone in the absorption of the harmful ultraviolet radiations from the sun is also a critical one. It is thus essential for ozone depleting substances (ODs) such as chemicals released from industries to be reduced. In the recent years, there has been an increase of the gases such as chlorine and bromine which are released by chemical industries.
ODs are released through human activities and result in great impacts on the climate of the land. There are various gases that are released as ODs. For instance, most companies release halons and CFCs as well as HCFCs which increase the ozone depleting effects of the ODs. The combination of ODs and greenhouse gases results in increased warming of the earth’s surface. While ODs deplete the ozone resulting in lower UV absorption by the ozone layer, the greenhouse gases trap UV radiation and prevent it from being released from the earth’s atmosphere into the stratosphere. While the ozone depletion results in increase of UV radiation from the sun towards the earth’s atmosphere, the greenhouse gases prevent the same from escaping the earth’s atmosphere. Greenhouse gases include carbon IV oxide as well as methane among others. The effects of greenhouse gases on the atmosphere are different for different gases (Mohanakumar, 2008).
There are several impacts associated with increased greenhouse gases and the resultant ozone depletion. The overall impact is described as the increase in the earth’s temperature. Because of this, several other effects are felt as a result of the ozone depletion in increase in the prevalence of conditions such as melanoma which are caused by the harmful UV radiation. In addition to this, ozone depletion also results in the disruption of the carbon cycle, destruction of marine animals and plants among other factors. Although animals find it impossible to adapt to climatic changes that result from ozone depletion, plants adapt more easily through the reduction in leaf size as well as in the leaf count and through production of wax on the leaf’s surface. The plants release various UV absorbing chemicals in order to adapt to the ozone depleting changes in the earth’s atmosphere (UNEP, 2010). However, an excessive increase in UV radiation results in the destruction of the reproduction and functioning of cyanobacteria.
Reducing the impacts of ozone depletion will only be achieved through the reduction of ODs in the environment. This can only be accomplished through reduction in the use of vehicles as well as other actions that involve the combustion of fossil fuels. In addition to this, chemical manufacturers are the key players in the reduction of ODs in the environment.
Mohanakumar, K. (2008). Stratosphere troposphere interactions: An introduction. New York: Springer.
Smith, K. L., Previdi, M. & Polvani, L. M. (2013). The Antarctic atmospheric energy budget. Part II: The effect of ozone depletion and its projected recovery. Journal of Climate 26, 9729-9744.
UNEP, (2010). Environmental effects of ozone depletion and its interactions with climate change: 2010 assessment. Retrieved June 18, 2014 from http://ozone.unep.org/Assessment_Panels/EEAP/eeap-report2010.pdf
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