Global Warming vs. Ozone Depletion

Difference Between Global Warming And Ozone Depletion

Few environmental subjects in recent years have generated as much interest—and controversy—as global warming and the greenhouse effect of certain gases and pollutants in the atmosphere. Like the glass roof of a greenhouse, carbon dioxide, methane, and other gases are transparent to shortwave radiation from the Sun. But they tend to block the long-wave heat energy from being radiated back toward space from Earth. Thus, an increase in the concentrations of greenhouse gases causes more heat to be trapped in the lower atmosphere. This raises Earth’s average temperature.

Many scientists consider one of the most serious environmental threats to be the reduction of an atmospheric gas that is also a serious pollutant. Ozone, a relatively rare and chemically active molecule, comprises three atoms of oxygen. It is considered to be both a “good” gas and a “bad” gas. In the lower atmosphere, ozone is a by-product of motor-vehicle exhaust, the primary ingredient of photochemical smog. It is the cause of the watering eyes and burning throats experienced when smog-laced air is inhaled. Ozone damages the leaves of plants. It slows their growth by destroying the walls of their cells.

Scientists first noticed a slight warming of the atmosphere in the early 20th century. They applauded it because the warming offered protection from the “deadly glaciers” of a possible new ice age.

The natural greenhouse effect is a widely accepted fact in scientific circles. A portion of the Sun’s energy is always trapped in the atmosphere by gases. And most scientists agree that increasing the concentration of those gases is likely to trap more radiation.

Ozone Depletion

Many scientists consider one of the most serious environmental threats to be the reduction of an atmospheric gas that is also a serious pollutant. Ozone, a relatively rare and chemically active molecule, comprises three atoms of oxygen. It is considered to be both a “good” gas and a “bad” gas. In the lower atmosphere, ozone is a by-product of motor-vehicle exhaust, the primary ingredient of photochemical smog. It is the cause of the watering eyes and burning throats experienced when smog-laced air is inhaled. Ozone damages the leaves of plants. It slows their growth by destroying the walls of their cells.

About 90 percent of the ozone in the atmosphere occurs naturally. It is the result of sunlight forcing molecules of oxygen to separate into individual atoms of oxygen. When one of those atoms bonds with a normal oxygen molecule, it forms a molecule consisting of three oxygen atoms: ozone (O3). Stratosphere has the natural ozone, the layer of the atmosphere about (10 to 50 kilometers) above sea level. There it forms a protective barrier against harmful ultraviolet radiation.

 

Category: VS  |  Tags: