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The Ozone Depletion and Global Warming

The ozone layer (located above the troposphere in the stratosphere) is Earth's natural protection for all life forms, shielding our planet from harmful ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation. UV-B radiation is harmful to humans, animals, and plant life.

In the 1980s it was discovered that 'holes' were appearing in the ozone layer above the Antarctic and Arctic. The ozone layer is being destroyed by certain industrial chemicals including ozone depleting refrigerants. CFCs (Chlorofluorocarbons) used mainly in the manufacture of heating and cooling systems are believed to be responsible for destroying the ozone layer.

Certain gases in the atmosphere, mainly carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and CFCs, act like the glass in a greenhouse, allowing sunlight through to heat the Earth's surface but trapping the heat in the atmosphere, causing a greater amount of heat to be reflected back to Earth. Scientist's are concerned that continued global warming will accelerate ozone destruction and increase stratospheric ozone depletion.

In the long run, the accumulation of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere can cause extreme heat waves, rising sea levels, drought and the decline and extinction of thousands of species of animals and plants.

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