You can’t see the ozone layer, so how does it protect you? In this lesson, you’ll learn about this important layer that covers the earth and how it keeps you safe from the harmful rays of the sun.
What Is the Ozone Layer?
Have you ever gotten sunburned? Ouch! For some people – especially those with lighter skin – playing outside in the sun for too long without sunscreen can turn your skin red and make it painful to touch.Sunscreen is a protective coating that you put on your skin to block the sun’s harmful rays.
Did you know that the earth wears sunscreen? Earth’s sunscreen is called the ozone layer.Let’s travel to the ozone layer to see it up close. Up, up we go.
We had to fly many miles into the sky, but we finally reached the ozone layer. What? You don’t see anything? Well, that’s because the ozone layer is an invisible layer of protective gases that circle the earth.
The ozone layer sits between the Sun and us. Without the Sun’s warmth, it would be too cold to live on Earth, but the Sun also gives off harmful ultraviolet rays, or UV rays for short.
These rays are what cause sunburn. They can also hurt your eyes, cause skin cancer, and make it hard for plants to grow.Luckily for us, the ozone layer stops most of the harmful UV rays from hitting Earth, while letting the warm sunshine pass through.
The Ozone Has a Hole?
Oh no, what’s that? It looks like someone poked a hole in the ozone layer! Let’s fly over there and take a look. Phew, now that we have a closer look, we can see that the ozone layer is not a complete hole, but it is a thinner-than-normal area of the ozone layer.
The thinning of the ozone is a problem because it lets more UV rays hit the earth.
We’d better fly back down to Earth and find out what’s causing the ozone hole.
There’s a garbage dump – let’s land there to see if we can spot any problems.There’s one! That old refrigerator contains chlorofluorocarbons, which we will call CFCs. CFCs are harmful chemicals that get in the air. Years ago they were used in refrigerators and air conditioners, but they are now banned in the United States. However, this old refrigerator still contains them. If the refrigerator springs a leak, the chemicals could escape and drift up to the ozone layer.
Repairing the Hole
Even though CFCs were banned in the U.
S., not all countries have done this, and some industries in this country still use a few cleaners and chemicals to control bugs that can hurt the ozone. But, things are getting better. The government understands what hurts the ozone layer and creates laws to protect it.
It will take many years, but if we are careful, the hole in the ozone layer can be fixed.Maybe you can help! Tell your parents to be careful when throwing away an old refrigerator or air conditioner, so CFCs don’t escape. You can also protect yourself from harmful UV rays by remembering to wear sunscreen when you’re outdoors. Covering your arms and legs with clothing and wearing a hat and sunglasses also helps keep UV rays off your body.
The ozone layer is an invisible layer of protective gases that circle the earth. The ozone layer stops most of the harmful ultraviolet rays, or UV rays, from hitting Earth. We are concerned that the ozone hole, a thinner-than-normal area of the ozone layer caused by too many CFCs, could let too many UV rays reach Earth. Fortunately, people are taking steps to fix the ozone hole, and you can too.