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Ozone Layer

The Earth is constantly bombarded by radiation from the Sun. The atmosphere protects the surface of the Earth from this radiation. It is possible that air pollution is causing part of the atmosphere to get thinner.

Scientists measure the ozone layer to see if it is getting thinner. With a thinner ozone layer, more ultraviolet radiation can pass through the atmosphere. This might cause more skin cancer, mutations, and global warming.

This map shows how much thinner the ozone layer was over Antarctica in 1995 than in previous years. The blue and purple parts of this map show the parts of the ozone layer which are getting thinner the fastest.

Ozone Decrease in 1995 over Antarctica


Thought Questions

  • Using an atlas, find Antarctica. How far away is it from where you live? What is the weather like there?
  • The grey part of this map shows the area where no information was collected. What do you think that part of the map would look like if data had been collected?
  • What causes the ozone layer to get thinner? Conduct an online search to find out. Suggested keywords: ozone, atmosphere, aerosol, CFC, Pinatubo


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