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Earth systems - Essay Example

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In the early phase of the earth’s history, life could only survive in the oceans because the deadly ultraviolet rays of the sun precluded the growth of life on the earth’s surface. These UV rays could not, however, penetrate water, hence, life flourished in the oceans until…
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Earth systems
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Download file to see previous pages posing a problem to the environment is the fact that the concentration of ozone in the ground-level is increasing while ozone in the stratospheric level is diminishing (Wright 774). This is a global environmental predicament because the stratospheric ozone has beneficial use while ground-level ozone produces detrimental effects.
The stratospheric ozone layer was discovered sometime in the 1870s when scientists, led by G.M Dobson, observed the diminished amount of UV rays as they reach the earth’s surface, eventually attributing this phenomenon to ozone. By deduction, they concluded that the concentration of ozone in the upper atmosphere is higher than that nearer to the ground. A century later, it was discovered that certain elements could pose threat to this layer. When the US was planning to build supersonic transport planes (SST), studies revealed that the nitrogen oxide they would emit in the stratosphere layer, where they would be expected fly most of the time at a speed three times to that of sound and at an altitude of 12.4 miles, could destroy ozone (Konvicka 272).
In the stratosphere, ozone is formed through a process called photolysis, when oxygen in the atmosphere is bombarded by solar UV radiation. This causes the two atoms of oxygen to split apart and merge with the atoms of other oxygen. The ozone gases then bond to form the ozone layer. This layer of ozone forms between 12 and 15 miles above the earth and protects it as well as life on it from dangerous UV solar radiation (Butz 376; Onursal et al 19). Ozone formation and destruction in the atmosphere occurs continuously and cyclically every time the UV rays of the sun act upon them, causing the breakdown of the gas and converting the resulting energy into heat. The heat raises the temperature at higher altitudes blocking the entry of the ultraviolet rays to the lower levels of the atmosphere. The split oxygen atoms then re-bond with the atoms of other oxygen to form new ozone. This continuous ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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