ozone - Christina Perles 4/17/09 Ozone: Good Up High, Bad...

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Unformatted text preview: Christina Perles 4/17/09 Ozone: Good Up High, Bad Nearby When the term ozone comes up in casual discussion, most of us immediately think of the ozone layer. So it follows logically that when one mentions the term ozone pollution, the immediate thought is of the depletion of the ozone layer. However, in actuality, there is more to ozone than just the ozone layer that so many of us are acquainted with, just as the term ozone pollution encompasses something much greater than the growing holes in the earths ozone layer. A more thorough understanding of ozone pollution means understanding that ozone is not simply a massive sheet that wraps around the earth, but rather, it is a molecule. Ozone is formed when three atoms of oxygen bond together, and the ozone layer is formed by the clustering of these molecules in what is known as the earths stratosphere, a region that extends six to thirty miles above the earths surface. I t follows logically then that ozone located in the stratosphere is referred to as stratospheric ozone. However, the same kind of ozone is also found at the earths surface, which is called the troposphere. As such, ozone found here is known as tropospheric ozone. When learning about ozone pollution, it is important to understand that there are two kinds of ozone pollution. I t is also essential that one understands that ozone can be both harmful as well as beneficial. As the title of this paper suggests, the location of the ozone molecules functions as the ultimate determinate of whether they will prove hurtful or helpful ozone at higher altitudes is vital to the survival of our earths ecosystems, while high concentrations of ozone closer to the earths surface can only prove disastrous. First we should discuss what can be referred to as healthy ozone. As a result of its relationship with ultraviolet (UV) radiation, ozone that is concentrated high in the stratosphere acts as a protective shield for humans, plants, and animals alike. Scientists split ultraviolet radiation into three types based on the wavelength of each. These wavelengths are referred to as UVA, UVB, and UVC, the latter posing the most severe threat to the earths biology. In a healthy stratosphere, the small amounts of ozone in the ozone layer are able to filter out almost all UVC and UVB radiation, and although the ozone layer is able to absorb very little UVA radiation, this wavelength poses a significantly diminished threat compared to its counterparts. It is also important to note that a healthy amount of UVB radiation reaching the troposphere allows humans to more readily produce Vitamin D, a nutrient which is essential to human health and is found in very few foods. The figure below shows the progression of the hole in the earths ozone layer, represented by the blue oval....
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This note was uploaded on 09/13/2011 for the course PHILOSOPHY 2596 taught by Professor Chuckdyke during the Spring '09 term at Temple.

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ozone - Christina Perles 4/17/09 Ozone: Good Up High, Bad...

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