The stratosphere protects Earth from UV radiation

The Concorde, a supersonic airliner developed in collaboration between the United Kingdom and France, once held the distinction of being the fastest airliner in the world.

It made its first flight in 1969 and achieved Mach 2 the following year. It seats 130 passengers and has a range of about 6,000 kilometers.

However, problems with noise and air pollution were so severe that production was discontinued in 1976, and flights ceased after that.

But the Concorde was unusual. While airliners usually fly in the troposphere, the Concorde flew in the stratosphere.

The same can be said for the Tu-144, a supersonic airliner built by the Soviet Union around the same time.

Why? The stratosphere has thinner air than the troposphere.

Airliners encounter less resistance from the air, which saves fuel.

Plus, there’s no convection in the stratosphere.

It doesn’t get rained on or clouded over, making it perfect for airplane routes.

In the troposphere, airplanes are constrained by other airplanes in terms of altitude, speed, and course, but in the stratosphere there is less interference from other airplanes.

Finally, sonic booms can be largely eliminated. Sonic booms are shock waves created when airplanes fly at speeds in excess of the speed of sound.

The Concorde and Tu-144 were able to minimize sonic booms by flying high in the stratosphere.

Stratosphere and ozone

The stratosphere is the layer of the atmosphere between the troposphere and mesosphere.

Temperatures stay about the same or increase slightly from the tropopause to the lower stratosphere.

From the bottom of the stratosphere, however, the temperature increases in all regions except the polar regions in winter. It is highest at a height of about 50 kilometers, where it is about 0 degrees Celsius.

Phenomena that occur in the stratosphere include pearl clouds and anomalous propagation of sound waves.

However, the most representative is the blocking of ultraviolet radiation by the ozone layer. The sudden warming of the stratosphere has a significant impact on winter weather.

The stratosphere was first discovered by French meteorologist Léon Philippe Teisserenc de Bort (1855-1913).

The ozone in the stratosphere acts as a shield that protects the Earth from the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

The amount of ozone in the stratosphere is only about 3 millimeters thick.

This thin layer does an incredible job.

The sun’s ultraviolet radiation is usually divided into ultraviolet A, B, and C, depending on the length of the wavelength.

UV-C, which is very harmful to humans, is completely blocked by ozone at altitudes of about 35 kilometers.

UV-B, which causes skin cancer, is also blocked by the ozone layer by almost 95%.

Finally, most of the UV-A reaches the surface.

This wavelength is not very harmful, but it can potentially cause genetic damage.

When the ozone layer is destroyed, UV rays reach the Earth. When organisms are exposed to direct UV radiation, their skin burns, causing skin cancer and cataracts.

The body’s resistance is also reduced, for example, measles, chickenpox, herpes, malaria, tuberculosis, leprosy, and fungal diseases are some of the diseases that worsen with increased UV radiation.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a one percent decrease in stratospheric ozone is associated with a 0.3 to 0.6 percent increase in cataracts. There is also a significant increase in melanoma cases.

The most ozone depleted area is over Antarctica.

In southern Chile, which is close to the South Pole, there are actually more skin cancer cases than in other parts of the country. Wildlife such as rabbits often go blind.

This is an example of how damaging UV radiation can be when the ozone layer is destroyed. For plants, photosynthesis is impaired.

The photosynthesis of phytoplankton in the ocean is also inhibited. Fish eggs and crustacean larvae are also very susceptible to UV radiation.

As a result, the foundation of the ecosystem’s food chain collapses. The Earth’s environment becomes uninhabitable for humans, animals, and plants.

The ozone layer and climate change

The ozone layer is also closely linked to the global climate.

When the ozone layer is depleted, short-wavelength solar radiation enters the atmosphere, increasing the greenhouse effect.

This leads to increased evaporation, humidity, and changes in precipitation as global temperatures rise.

The ozone layer maintains the temperature of the stratosphere, and if the ozone layer decreases, the temperature of the stratosphere decreases.

When the stratosphere cools, the flow of atmospheric circulation changes.

This leads to changes in climate patterns around the world. The Great East Japan Earthquake is a great example.

A study by a team of researchers from Japan, Norway, and China was published in the American Geophysical Union in 2015.

They observed the atmosphere over Japan for a year (March 2011-February 2012) following the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011.

They looked for changes in the concentrations of halocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) in the atmosphere.

Freon gas is a representative of halocarbons.

Along with sulfur hexafluoride, it was used extensively as a refrigerant in refrigerators and air conditioners, as a spray agent, and as a foaming agent for urethane.

The results of the study were alarming. Their concentrations in the atmosphere spiked from 21% to as much as 91% above pre-earthquake levels.

The amount of both emitted by the earthquake was 4% of the amount emitted by the entire planet in 2011.

The increase in chlorofluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride in the atmosphere is a big deal.

This is because they are both potent greenhouse gases and stratospheric ozone depleters.

Chemicals such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) destroy the ozone layer by breaking the oxygen bonds in ozone.

Observations show that the two substances increased the ozone hole over Japan by 38% during the year of observation.

The contribution to global warming was also 36% higher than before the earthquake.

This is the first quantitative study to show that ozone depletion is directly damaging to the planet.

Other studies have shown that changes in the ozone layer have a direct impact on global climate.

In 2013, a paper was published in Nature Geoscience titled “Causes affecting the intensity and frequency of summer precipitation extremes in the Southern Hemisphere subtropics”.

The results of the study were surprising. The increase in the intensity and frequency of extreme precipitation events in the southern hemisphere subtropical summer is due to the ozone hole.

Extreme precipitation events have a 1% chance of occurring, but they are often associated with natural disasters such as typhoons and floods, causing enormous damage.

The existence of the ozone layer not only affects the survival of the earth’s flora and fauna, but also has a huge impact on climate change.

The stratosphere needs to be preserved

The stratosphere has a lot to do with Earth’s ecosystems.

That’s why efforts are needed to protect the ozone layer in the stratosphere.

Fortunately, countries around the world have realized the seriousness of ozone depletion and met in Montreal to create a protocol.

This is the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, an international agreement to prevent and protect the ozone layer from depletion.

It entered into force in January 1989. It has been one of the most successful examples of a global agreement.

The movie “Snowpiercer” has a message for us. Scientists rush to solve global warming and end up turning the entire planet into a block of ice.

After spraying artificial refrigerants into the stratosphere, a powerful cold wave suddenly hits the planet, triggering an ice age.

Everything alive on the planet is frozen, and life only exists on a “snow train” that circles the globe.

The message is that anthropogenic changes to the Earth’s atmosphere can lead to unimaginable catastrophes.

Since the Montreal Protocol came into effect, the rate of ozone depletion has slowed considerably.

Nevertheless, the ozone layer can still be destroyed at any time, as was the case with the Great Japanese Earthquake.

Everyone on the planet needs to play a role in preserving the ozone layer. In particular, anthropogenic stratospheric modification should be thoroughly prevented.

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