Ozone Depletion

Located in the atmospheric layer known as the stratosphere is a region of concentration of the ozone (O3) molecule. This “ozone layer” is found at an altitude of about 10 to 50 kilometers (6 to 31 miles), with a maximum concentration in the stratosphere at an altitude of approximately 25 kilometers (16 miles). Starting in the late 1970s, scientists began measuring a seasonal depletion of ozone in the ozone layer mainly at the South Pole. The ozone layer naturally shields Earth's life from the harmful effects of the Sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation. The nation’s of the world have responded to this global environmental problem by proposing a plan known as the Montreal Protocol, to reduce and eliminate the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) the human-made chemical primarily responsible for ozone loss.

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    Sunlight is the electromagnetic radiation arriving at the Earth's surface due to direct illumination by the sun; this radiation includes ultraviolet, visible and... More »

  • Antarctica: A Journey of Discovery Featured Article Antarctica: A Journey of Discovery Antarctica: A Journey of Discovery

    Useful to Teachers Across Disciplines The National Science Foundation's Office of Polar Programs has produced a full-color, extensively illustrated booklet that highlights... More »

  • Halocarbon Featured Article Halocarbon Halocarbon

    A halocarbon is an organic chemical molecule composed of at least one carbon atom bound covalently with one or more halogen atoms; the most common halogens in these molecules... More »

  • CFC-Ozone Puzzle: Lecture Featured Article CFC-Ozone Puzzle: Lecture CFC-Ozone Puzzle: Lecture

    Speakers: F. Sherwood Rowland and Mario J. Molina Series: The John H. Chafee Memorial Lecture on Science and the Environment 1st National... More »

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U.S. Antarctic Program Blue Ribbon Panel Report Last Updated on 2012-07-24 00:00:00 U.S. Antarctic Program Blue Ribbon Panel Report In 2011, the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Science Foundation initiated a major review of the U.S. Antarctic Program to examine U.S. logistical capabilities likely to be needed in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean during the next two decades and to seek ways to enhance logistical efficiency to support world-class science.  The Panel conducted an independent review of the current U.S. Antarctic Program to identify and characterize a range of options for supporting and implementing the required national scientific endeavors, international collaborations, and strong U.S. presence in Antarctica. Now, the 12-member Panel has released its report, More and Better Science in Antarctica through Increased Logistical Effectiveness. The report is a comprehensive document based on several months of research,... More »
Atmospheric science Last Updated on 2012-03-27 00:00:00 Atmospheric science is the umbrella term for the study of the atmosphere — the blanket of air covering the Earth. It is a relatively new discipline that is concerned with the composition, structure and evolution of the atmosphere as well as its processes and how those processes interrelate with other systems.[1][2 The adjacent image[4] depicts the various processes occurring in the atmosphere and how they relate to other Earth systems such as agriculture, land, sea and air transportation, other ecosystems, air pollutant emissions, the water cycle (evaporation and rainfall), forests and forest fires, deserts and desert dust, industry, etc. To the extent that atmospheric science focuses primarily on the Earth's atmosphere, it can be regarded as a subfield of the "Earth sciences" discipline, each of which is a particular synthesis of the fundamentals of... More »
CFC-Ozone Puzzle: Question and Answer Last Updated on 2012-03-13 00:00:00 Speakers: F. Sherwood Rowland and Mario J. Molina Series: The John H. Chafee Memorial Lecture on Science and the Environment 1st National Conference on Science, Policy and the Environment Date: December 7, 2000 Location: National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC Moderated by the Honorable Richard E. Benedick, President, National Council for Science and the Environment, Ambassador (retired), and Battelle Pacific Northwest National Laboratory: Thank you very much, Sherry and Mario. It is really a remarkable story when you think of how close we came to not solving that problem and what the consequences would have been if it were not for courageous scientists like Sherry Rowland and Mario Molina coming at the right time and the right place, and finding their counterparts in the policy sector, in the Congress, and... More »
Halocarbon Last Updated on 2011-10-28 00:00:00 A halocarbon is an organic chemical molecule composed of at least one carbon atom bound covalently with one or more halogen atoms; the most common halogens in these molecules are fluorine, chlorine, bromine and iodine. Naturally occurring halocarbons are created by certain volcanic eruptions, forest fires, fungal decay, certain marine organism metabolism and are found in tissues of diverse organisms ranging from marine snails to various plants. Many halocarbons become air pollutants, water pollutants in surface and groundwater resources and as soil contaminants. In the atmosphere, some of these chemicals produce significant impacts of upper atmosphere ozone depletion and also as radiative forcing gases implicated in climate change. In fact, many scientists have suggested that effective regulation of halocarbons may be a more cost effective approach to mitigating global warming... More »
Antarctica: A Journey of Discovery Last Updated on 2011-04-19 00:00:00 Useful to Teachers Across Disciplines The National Science Foundation's Office of Polar Programs has produced a full-color, extensively illustrated booklet that highlights the variety of cutting-edge science conducted in Antarctica at the three year-round stations the United States maintains on the continent. The booklet is available on-line. It is aimed primarily at a middle-school audience and is designed to be useful as supplementary material for classroom teachers in a variety of subjects. Although the booklet touches on natural sciences as diverse as astronomy and astrophysics, biology, geology, meteorology and oceanography, the content also could lend itself to teaching geography and the social sciences. Antarctica: A Journey of Discovery, was written and designed by the NSF-funded, Lincoln, Neb.-based Antarctic geological Drilling (ANDRILL) project, a... More »