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In the 90s, news were full of such news. The hole in the ozone layer is getting bigger! How can it happen? What's the ozone layer? What does it do? Most of us didn't know. But if there is a hole in it, it is not a good sign! Ozone actually consists of oxygen. which we constantly breathe and one of the most necessary elements of life. However, it is generally found in the form of O2, molecules. This is what gives us life. If a third oxygen atom is included, then O3 appears, which we call ozone. A single atom of oxygen transformed O2, which is beneficial to us, into O3, which can harm us. But it is so here on earth. Above, it is the opposite, becomes beneficial for us. It is not found on earth in its natural form. It is produced especially in the upper stratosphere and mesosphere layers of the atmosphere. When the intense UV or ultraviolet rays coming from the Sun hit the oxygen molecules here, they create a free oxygen. This free oxygen can go into one oxygen molecule and these three oxygens can form one ozone. In the same way, incoming UV rays hit these ozone molecules and form an oxygen molecule and a free oxygen atom. We call this the ozone-oxygen cycle. One ozone is eliminated, and another one is produced. And so there is always the same amount of ozone in the atmosphere. So we are covered in a giant ozone shield. This is why life on earth can continue so easily. If it weren't for ozone, our planet and we would be scorched under the harmful UV radiation from the sun. Have you got the hang of it now? there is a huge shield protecting us from danger, it may be so. But it also stands on a very delicate scale. In the 1980s, this balance was tipped. Right here in 1985, scientists noticed a 40% decrease in ozone. The ozone layer was a hole being formed around Antarctica. It seemed like the world was ending. Meanwhile, young Solomon and her team immediately flew to Antarctica. They brought various equipment and measuring instruments with them. They measured not only ozone but everything they could about the atmosphere. Of course, when you go to Antarctica, your biggest goal is to avoid getting frostbite. But their goal was different. They collected samples with air balloons that could reach the upper layers, They made measurements. As a result, Solomon and her team made a surprising discovery. Chlorine oxide level was 100 times higher than expected. Of course, it didn't take long for them to understand what this meant. Chlorine oxide was formed by the decomposition of Chlorofluorocarbons, in short CFCs, exposed to UV rays in the upper layers of the atmosphere. And guess where these CFCs were coming from? Yes… From things like those aerosol products like deodorant that we've been using lately. It is also in refrigerators, air conditioners, and foams that we use... It was almost everywhere. In fact, CFCs do not cause much of a problem in our daily lives, here on earth, they are useful to us. So what's going on up there? When floating CFCs reach the upper layers of the atmosphere, UV light breaks them down into Chlorine. Then, this Chlorine steals oxygen from the ozone and creates Chlorine monoxide. Then, Chlorine monoxide, which comes across an empty oxygen atom, begins to wander freely after an oxygen molecule is formed, then it goes to another ozone and breaks it down too. You see the danger, right? We added something so unstable that it unbalances everything it touches to a system that works like a scale. We did it. As the naughty children of this planet, we intervened in nature. There are limits to what a single molecule can do. But as we added more and more each day, we began to destroy the ozone in a chain reaction. Of course, things didn't stop there! CFCs can remain in the atmosphere for more than 100 years. In other words, with every CFC we emit throughout our lives, we start something that gradually accumulates in the atmosphere, further escalating and accelerating the chain reaction. This is what Solomon and her team discovered. Then, naturally, scientists immediately started making very serious warnings. Because the evidence was clear. If we didn't do something, this wouldn't end well. Just like what might have happened in 2065... This was exactly the expected scene. That was it… But what happened to the ozone hole? No one has been talking about ozone for a while. Although news comes out from time to time. Well, the hole in the ozone got bigger or smaller, but the reasons for that are different, I'll explain that too. First, I want to discuss why we don't talk about it much anymore.
Researched and Written by: Ögetay Kayalı
Edited and Presented by: Barış Özcan
Edited by: Alperen Çatak
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