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What is the ozone layer and how can a hole be made in it?

What is the ozone layer and how can a hole be made in it? Is this hole over a certain part of the world?
Hannah Barnett from West Yorkshire (age 15-24)

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One Response

  1. The earth is surrounded by atmosphere is made up of layers as you get further away from the Earth; a bit like layers of an onion. Each layer is different – different composition, different temperature, different pressure. The ozone layer is just one of those layers. The oxygen we breathe in the lowest level of the atmosphere (where we live) is two oxygen molecules together (O2); ozone is three oxygen molecules together (O3).

    The hole has been made by chemical reactions with pollutants we put in the air. For example, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that used to be in aerosol sprays and refridgerants. In the ozone layer chemicals like CFCs break down in the sunlight into parts and produce things called free radicals. Free radicals are very reactive and they react with the ozone breaking it down (I won’t put down all the chemical reactions here!) to produce new molecules. This process happens in a chain reaction because more free radicals get produced at the end of each reaction. So a small amount of CFCs can lead to a continuous break down of ozone.

    The hole in the ozone layer is mostly over Antarctica.

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