What is ozone and where is it in the atmosphere?

Asked By: Elvis Honenev | Last Updated: 27th January, 2020
Category: science environment
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Ozone is a gas made up of three oxygen atoms (O3). It occurs naturally in small (trace) amounts in the upper atmosphere (the stratosphere). Ozone protects life on Earth from the Sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

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Correspondingly, where is ozone in the atmosphere?

Ozone is mainly found in two regions of the Earth's atmosphere. Most ozone (about 90%) resides in a layer that begins between 6 and 10 miles (10 and 17 kilometers) above the Earth's surface and extends up to about 30 miles (50 kilometers). This region of the atmosphere is called the stratosphere.

Subsequently, question is, how Ozone is formed? Ozone is a molecule made up of three oxygen atoms, often referenced as O3. Ozone is formed when heat and sunlight cause chemical reactions between oxides of nitrogen (NOX ) and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC), which are also known as Hydrocarbons.

Also to know, what is ozone How and where is it formed in the atmosphere?

Ozone is produced naturally in the stratosphere when highly energetic solar radiation strikes molecules of oxygen, O2, and cause the two oxygen atoms to split apart in a process called photolysis. Most of the ozone in the stratosphere is formed over the equatorial belt, where the level of solar radiation is greatest.

Why is ozone found in upper atmosphere and not on Earth?

Ozone thus constitutes in the stratosphere a shield that prevents the ultraviolet radiation, which causes biological damage (skin cancer) from passing to the earth's surface. Without ozone in the upper atmosphere, life on earth would not have evolved and could not exist today.

31 Related Question Answers Found

Is there a hole in the ozone layer?

The ozone hole occurs during the Antarctic spring, from September to early December, as strong westerly winds start to circulate around the continent and create an atmospheric container. Within this polar vortex, over 50 percent of the lower stratospheric ozone is destroyed during the Antarctic spring.

Why do we need the ozone layer?

Although the concentration of the ozone in the ozone layer is very small, it is vitally important to life because it absorbs biologically harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation coming from the sun.

How do humans affect the ozone layer?

Human activities cause the emission of halogen source gases that contain chlorine and bromine atoms. These emissions into the atmosphere ultimately lead to stratospheric ozone depletion.

Are ozone machines safe?

Whether in its pure form or mixed with other chemicals, ozone can be harmful to health. When inhaled, ozone can damage the lungs. Relatively low amounts of ozone can cause chest pain, coughing, shortness of breath and, throat irritation.

How does the ozone protect us?


The ozone layer acts as a filter for the shorter wavelength and highly hazardous ultraviolet radiation (UVR) from the sun, protecting life on Earth from its potentially harmful effects. When the sky is clear, there is an inverse relationship between stratospheric ozone and solar UVR measured at the Earth's surface.

How bad is the ozone layer?

Atmospheric ozone absorbs ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun, particularly harmful UVB-type rays. Exposure to UVB radiation is linked with increased risk of skin cancer and cataracts, as well as damage to plants and marine ecosystems.

Does the Ozone Layer move?

The amount of ozone in the stratosphere varies naturally throughout the year as a result of chemical processes that create and destroy ozone molecules and as a result of winds and other transport processes that move ozone molecules around the planet.

What destroys the ozone layer?

Ozone Depletion. When chlorine and bromine atoms come into contact with ozone in the stratosphere, they destroy ozone molecules. One chlorine atom can destroy over 100,000 ozone molecules before it is removed from the stratosphere. Ozone can be destroyed more quickly than it is naturally created.

What is ozone made of?

Ozone is a gas made up of three oxygen atoms (O3). It occurs naturally in small (trace) amounts in the upper atmosphere (the stratosphere). Ozone protects life on Earth from the Sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

Where are chlorofluorocarbons found?


Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are anthropogenic compounds that have been released into the atmosphere since the 1930s in various applications such as in air-conditioning, refrigeration, blowing agents in foams, insulations and packing materials, propellants in aerosol cans, and as solvents.

Is ozone a greenhouse gas?

Ozone isn't a typical greenhouse gas. It has two distinct functions in the atmosphere. High in the stratosphere, it absorbs ultraviolet light from the sun and protects the earth. Near the ground, it serves as a pollutant and contributor to smog and also has greenhouse characteristics.

Why is the hole in the ozone layer a problem?

Ozone depletion is a major environmental problem because it increases the amount of ultraviolet (UV) radiation that reaches Earth's surface, which increases the rate of skin cancer, eye cataracts, and genetic and immune system damage.

What are the effects of ozone depletion?

Ozone layer depletion causes increased UV radiation levels at the Earth's surface, which is damaging to human health. Negative effects include increases in certain types of skin cancers, eye cataracts and immune deficiency disorders.

What do u mean by ozone hole?

Scientific definitions for ozone hole
ozone hole. A severe depletion of ozone in a region of the ozone layer, particularly over Antarctica and over the Arctic. The depletion is caused by the destruction of ozone by CFCs and by other compounds, such as carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) and carbon tetrafluoride (CF4).

What is the primary source of tropospheric ozone?


The majority of tropospheric ozone formation occurs when nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as xylene, react in the atmosphere in the presence of sunlight. NOx and VOCs are called ozone precursors.

How is ozone formed in the lower atmosphere?

Ozone Sources
Ozone is formed in the lower atmosphere primarily by nitrogen oxides (NOx) reacting with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) on warm, sunny days. Nitrogen oxides are released into the atmosphere as a by-product of any combustion.

What are CFCs used for?

Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are nontoxic, nonflammable chemicals containing atoms of carbon, chlorine, and fluorine. They are used in the manufacture of aerosol sprays, blowing agents for foams and packing materials, as solvents, and as refrigerants.