Ozone Layer Depletion: Its Consequences, the Causal Debate.
Ozone depletion consists of two related events observed since the late 1970s: a steady lowering of about four percent in the total amount of ozone in Earth's atmosphere (the ozone layer), and a much larger springtime decrease in stratospheric ozone around Earth's polar regions. The latter phenomenon is referred to as the ozone hole.There are also springtime polar tropospheric ozone depletion.
The 1985 Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, along with its Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, is widely regarded as one of the most successful global environmental agreements in history. The Ozone Treaties hold the rare distinction of having been ratified by every country in the world.
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Air pollution and the Ozone. The history of this international problem begins in the early 1970's when scientists began to notice problems with the ozone layer and Mario Molina and F. Sherwood Rowland demonstrated that CFC's and other chemicals had the capacity of destroying the ozone layer.
The ozone layer has historically protected the Earth from the harmful UV rays, although in recent decades this protection has diminished due to stratospheric ozone depletion. Figure courtesy of NASA. Ozone depletion is largely a result of man-made substances.
THE OZONE DEPLETION PHENOMENON THE PATH FROM RESEARCH TO HUMAN BENEFIT NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES A satellite image of the ozone hole (pink area) over Antarctica taken on September 25, 1995. BEYOND DISCOVERY BEYOND DISCOVERY This article was published in 1996 and has not been updated or revised.