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Ozone layer. Planet Earth

Ozone layer. Planet Earth

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As expected, the ozone hole near the Earth's South Pole, grew again during 2003. This year's hole, slightly larger than North America, is larger than last year, but smaller than the record reached on September 10, 2000.

Ozone is important because it protects us from the damage of ultraviolet radiation from sunlight. However, ozone is vulnerable to CFCs (Chlorofluorocarbons) and halides, such as carbon tetrachloride and chloroform, released into the atmosphere by human activity. International efforts to reduce the use of these harmful chemical compounds appear to be giving positive results, since their abundance in the atmosphere has effectively diminished.

However, the relatively large size of the ozone hole in 2003 was partially attributed to colder than normal air in the surrounding stratosphere. The image of the ozone hole was taken on September 11, 2003 by the Earth Probe orbital satellite.

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