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The ozone layer diminishes more each year As the area of polar ozone depletion commonly called the ozone hole gets larger additional ultraviolet rays are allowed to pass through These rays cause cancer cataracts and lowered immunity to diseases1 What causes the depletion of the ozone layer In 1970 Crutzen first showed that nitrogen oxides produced by decaying nitrous oxide from soil-borne microbes react catalytically with ozone hastening its depletion His findings started research on global biogeochemical cycles as well as the effects of supersonic transport aircraft that release nitrogen oxide into the stratosphere2 In 1974 Molina and Rowland found that human-made chlorofluorocarbons used for making foam cleaning fluids refrigerants and repellents transform into ozone-depleting agents3 Chlorofluorocarbons stay in the atmosphere for several decades due to their long tropospheric lifetimes These compounds are carried into the stratosphere where they undergo hundreds of catalytic cycles with ozone4 They are broken down into chlorine atoms by ultraviolet radiation5 Chlorine acts as the catalyst for breaking down atomic oxygen and molecular ozone into two molecules of molecular oxygen The basic set of reactions that involve this process are Cl O3 --ClO O2 and ClO O --Cl O2 The net result O3 O --2O2 Chlorine is initially removed in the first equation by the reaction with ozone to form chlorine monoxide Then it is regenerated through the reaction with monatomic oxygen in the second equation The net result of the two reactions is the depletion of ozone and atomic oxygen6 Chlorofluorocarbons CFCs halons and methyl bromide are a few of the ozone depletion substances ODS that break down ozone under intense ultraviolet light The bromine and fluorine in these chemicals act as catalysts reforming ozone O3 molecules and monatomic oxygen into molecular oxygen O2 In volcanic eruptions the sulfate aerosols released are a natural cause of ozone depletion The hydrolysis of N2O5 on sulfate aerosols coupled with the reaction with chlorine in HCl ClO
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