Global System Science, Ozone

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Mammatus Clouds

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  • Curriculum Materials


Lawrence Hall of Science


OZONE is a success story about how people around the globe are cooperating to solve a serious environmental problem. Ozone gas in the upper atmosphere shields our planet from ultraviolet light that is thought to cause skin cancer and cataracts in humans, and that may be harmful to a wide variety of plants and animals. The story of how the depletion of ozone came to be recognized and connected to the production of certain chemicals used in refrigerators, air conditioners, and the computer industry demonstrates that science can be an exciting and adventuresome field, and that people in a wide variety of careers often play important roles in scientific discoveries. The fascinating epilogue in which more than 100 countries agreed to phase out the ozone-destroying chemicals clearly shows the connection between science and social action. Since ozone will continue to be depleted for several decades due to chemicals already in the atmosphere, your students will learn how to protect themselves by monitoring the levels of UV radiation in their community, and experimenting with sun block to see if it really offers protection from the ultraviolet rays of the sun.

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