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The Ozone Layer is a layer of gas present in an upper part of the atmosphere called the stratosphere; the ozone layer is mostly found around 9 – 21 miles above sea level. The ozone layer is useful for life and protects us from Ultra Violet (UV) radiations harmful to our health. Dangers of harmful UV rays penetration include immune system suppression, skin cancer and cataracts.
Depletion was observed in the ozone layer in late 1970’s which studies say is caused by gases known as Ozone Depleting Substances (ODSs). These substances are used in some of man’s utilities like refrigerators, fire extinguishers and aerosols. When they are released and escape to the stratosphere, they prompt reactions with ozone gas at that level to give products that cannot protect against harmful UV radiations creating a wide depletion in certain places or a hole.
An international agreement in 1987 in Montreal Canada which the United Nation oversaw bars the use of these gases and encourages that they are replaced with substances that are not harmful to the ozone layer. This agreement mostly known as the Montreal Protocol makes the world see ozone layer depletion as a settled environmental issue.
The ozone layer is in the upper atmosphere; the layer of the atmosphere preceding where the ozone layer is located from the sea level up is the troposphere; this is where heat trapping gases concentrate to trap heat to the earth surface. Global warming occurs principally from the troposphere where anthropogenic emissions join natural Green House Gases (GHGs) to collectively trap more heat to the earth surface.
Global warming is said to be responsible for several effects like floods, wild fires and more. Solution for global warming basically is curbing emissions, this many believe will make more sense if it is binding for nations to do for adherence to the agreement. This has not come but hope is extended to the coming UN meeting in Durban, South Africa this month.
Geoengineering is seen as an option from effects of global warming aside curbing emissions; this involves intentional manipulation of the earth climate system to prevent excesses that maybe responsible for warming on the earth surface. Suggested proposals however may hold unforeseen consequences according to some reviews.
Geoengineering may come sooner or later if global warming clearly puts the environment in danger. This conditions before or after that time may have one of more geoengineering procedures experimented for safety. Geoengineering the ozone layer is not so urgent or topical for now but may be necessary even as ozone depletion is continuous and ozone standards conforming to the Montreal Protocol are jeopardized to help businesses.
Geoengineering for global warming may further deplete the ozone layer causing more harm while solution for another is sought. This should not stop a procedure that will help planet earth from risk faced by global warming. So while geoengineering for global warming, geoengineering the ozone layer can be prepared for should measurements and observation show what depletion is caused afterwards to the ozone layer.
A review report presents a possibility of geoengineering the ozone layer by injecting oxygen gas to depleted parts of the ozone layer. Oxygen molecules, oxygen atoms and ozone molecules are continually reacting in the presence of UV light in the ozone layer as reactions that protect from harmful UV rays. Oxygen can be produced in large quantities, stored as liquid and discharged as gas at that level; this for ozone gas is practically difficult submitting preference for oxygen.
Aerodyne and aerostats may also be used to convey oxygen in a move to close depleted part of the ozone layer and save from harmful UV radiations. This research is developing and should be ready for use in a few years.
By David Stephen
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