On September 16, 2004, it was announced by the United Nations General Assembly to proclaim the day as the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer which also commemorates the date of the signing, in 1987, of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.
What is the Ozone Layer?
The ozone layer is one layer of the stratosphere which makes up the second layer of the Earth’s atmosphere. The stratosphere is comprised of protective gases including ozone and oxygen molecules that cling to our planet. The ozone layer is very important as it absorbs intense ultraviolet radiation from the sun and blocks the UV rays from reaching the Earth’s surface.
STEM Careers Pertaining to the study of the Ozone Layer
As STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education becomes ever more popular in today’s academics, we wanted to talk a little about STEM careers pertaining to the study of the Ozone Layer. The type of scientist who studies the ozone layer can be called a Meteorologist or Climatologist. Over the year’s these types of scientists noticed that the ozone layer was thinning out. With no ozone layer, there would be no protection from the Sun’s harmful UVA & UVB rays.
What Have We Done About Ozone Depletion?
So as a way to help strengthen the ozone layer, officials banned the use of chlorofluorocarbons or CFC’s. A CFC is a molecule that contains the elements carbon, chlorine, and fluorine. CFC’s are everywhere, but are mostly found in aerosol sprays, refrigerants and plastic products. CFC’s released on the surface of the Earth diffuse upward through the lowest layer of the atmosphere, called the troposphere. The vertical air current of tropospheric weather help push CFC’s up to the stratosphere. Once the CFC’s get into the stratosphere the UV rays from the sun break them down which releases chlorine. The chlorine will actually destroy the ozone molecules and more reactions will cause more ozone depletion.
From the efforts of climatologists, meteorologists, governments and businesses to control aerosol can and CFC production the ozone layer has slowly been recovering. The work of atmospheric scientists and environmental researchers continues to play a paramount role in policymaking under the Montreal Protocol to protect the ozone layer.
It is important for us to highlight this STEM career this month as climatologists and atmospheric scientists do such valuable work in protecting our human lives on Planet Earth from the Sun’s harmful rays.
Please show this catchy tune and video to your students/children to help them fully understand the ozone layer!