Ozone Layer

The layer of the earth’s stratosphere that soaks up most of the ultraviolet rays from the sun is the ozone layer. The ozone layer has a lot of ozone in it compared to other gases that are in the stratosphere. The ozone layer circles the earth and protects it from much of the ultraviolet radiation that the sun causes.

The ozone is located up to 22 miles above the surface of the earth. When the ozone layer has a hole in it, the ultraviolet rays can cause damage to the animals, plants, and people by damaging their DNA.


Ozone Layer Facts for Kids

  • French physicists Charles Fabry discovered the ozone layer in 1913
  • The Antarctic ozone hole was discovered in 1985
  • 90% of the ozone in our atmosphere is in the stratosphere
  • The ozone layer is also called the ozonosphere
  • It is important to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes when in the sun.
  • Refrigerators that are old have CFC’s in them.  If you have one of these, you need to make sure that it gets recycles in the right way so that the CFC’s are not released into the atmosphere.
  • The word ozone is a Greek word that means smelly.
  • CFC’s can destroy hundreds of thousands of ozone molecules and leave the ozone thinner.
  • UV rays from the sun are dangerous for people, animals, and plants because too much of these can cause the plants to die and can cause people and animals to get skin diseases.
  • The ozone layer affects the food cycle.
  • Scientists study the ozone layer to see what causes it to get “holes” in it.

How Does the Ozone Layer Protect Us?

When we are out in the sun, there are often times that we will get a sunburn.

Without the ozone layer, we would not be able to even go out into the sun because the sun would be too hot, and it would cause us to burn immediately.

With the ozone layer, the layer helps to block some of the UV rays that are harmful to people, animals, and plants.

The ozone layer acts a little bit like sunscreen because it protects us from those rays that can cause the body harm.

What Does the Ozone Layer Look Like?

The ozone layer is invisible, and it is made up of different gasses.

It sits between us and the sun so that we could have the heat of the sun without getting too much of the ultraviolet rays.

The ozone layer does have what scientists call a hole.  The hole is not really a hole, it is just an area of the ozone layer that is thinner than other parts of the ozone layer.

When the ozone layer gets a “hole” or gets thinner, it allows more rays to come through to the Earth and makes it harder to be safe from the sun.

What is the Ozone Layer Made Of?

The ozone layer is made up of different gas molecules.  They are called O3 because they include oxygen and sun and atoms.  When the sun hits these molecules, this is the layer that helps to protect us.

Nimbus ozone Brewer Dobson circulation

What Causes Holes to be in the Ozone Layer?

The thinning of the ozone layer happens because of different pollutions that move through the atmosphere.

CFC’s or chlorofluorocarbons come when people use different chemicals such as aerosol spray cans and these molecules help to break down the ozone layer.

CFC’s are made up of carbon, hydrogen, chlorine, and fluorine.  They come from fire extinguishers and air conditioners as well, even some Styrofoam has CFC’s in them.

When the Ozone Layer is Thinner, How Does That Affect Us?

When the ozone layer is thinner, it can cause people to get burned faster when they are outside.

Getting burnt is dangerous because it can cause people to get skin cancer or other damage to their skin or their eyes.

How Can We Protect the Ozone Layer?

We can help to protect the ozone layer by making sure that we use things that do not have CFC’s in them.

For example, people can use air conditioners that do not use freon and they can find ways to package their things using old newspapers or packaging popcorn that dissolves in water.

Future ozone layer concentrations

What Did You Learn?

  • What is the ozone layer?  The ozone layer is an invisible layer of gasses that help to protect the Earth from ultraviolet rays from the sun.
  • Why is the ozone layer important?  The ozone layer is important because it allows us to go outside without having to be sunburnt and helps to protect people, plants, and animals from getting too many ultraviolet rays.
  • What causes the ozone layer to get thinner?  The ozone layer gets thinner because of CFC molecules.  These molecules contain different chemicals that break down the ozone layer and cause it to be thinner.
  • Why do people say that there is a “hole” in the ozone layer?  People call it a hole where the ozone layer gets thinner in certain spots.
  • How can we protect the ozone layer?  We can protect the ozone layer by making sure that we use things that do not contain CFC’s.