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Starting with the Ozone Layer, Geoengineering can be seen as appropriate

Posted: 2012-04-11
From: Mathaba
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Geoengineering the ozone layer is not being talked about widely yet but is an answer to the ozone depletion encumbrance.

by David Stephen

News of depletion or recovery of the ozone layer is common after research studies are academically published on the subject by scientists. The ozone layer, a protective shield for planet earth against harmful ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun, is partly depleted by a class of gases, and it is not expected to be repaired until mid-century.

The ozone layer contributes to life and stability on earth but is threatened by ozone depleting substances (ODSs) even though an international agreement, the Montreal Protocol forbids their use. ODSs are class of gases given off in some substances used by man. On escape to the ozone layer, they react with ozone gas and renders it useless for its UV-protection cause.

The ozone layer is a layer of gas, present in an upper part of the atmosphere called the stratosphere, about 20 48 km above sea level. The ozone layer contains mostly ozone gas, but oxygen and atomic oxygen gas are also present. These gases are involved in dissociation and combination reactions that help the ozone layer stop harmful UV rays from reaching us.

Ozone gas is lost in reaction with ODSs, and the atmosphere over Antarctica show the most loss. Arctic too, in 2011 was reported with a major depletion in the ozone layer over its atmosphere.  The ozone layer is expected to fully recover around mid-century when all ODSs there would diminish and ozone gases will be evenly distributed again.

However, the ozone layer and its ODS issue have been linked to global warming, making its depletion effects and recovery more complicated. CO2, a major cause of global warming if it makes it way to the stratosphere, can drive heat away, contrasting what it does in the troposphere, to retain heat. This action reduces the heating effect, important, for reactions in the ozone layer for UV protection.

This possibility and growth in the amount CO2 in the atmosphere because of human activities, leaves the ozone layer on the edge, even as polar vortex remains a key threat. Scientists have been seeking ways to fight global warming and new problems countering ozone layer recovery.

Geoengineering, or climate engineering, an artificial approach to the earth climate system, that inputs things into it to have factors responsible for global warming reduced, is considered as a solution. Though, curbing emission as a way to stop global warming is preferred.

Geoengineering is also laid as a possible solution to repair the ozone layer in the case of extreme eventualities. Ozone Layer Geoengineering (OLG), a developing research work, appears to be workable and safe amongst the long list of geoengineering procedures. It submits that oxygen gas, a major component of reactions in the ozone layer is discharged there to join in reactions to replace lost ozone molecules.

Oxygen will be carried as liquid from planet earth, with an airship or unmanned aircraft and will be discharged as gas to the ozone layer. It will be discharged at points where eat-up by ODSs are unlikely and to points that will be effective in broader protection.

The research presentation of the OLG states in clear details of how the procedure will be carried and gave assurances of expected safety of the process, and its overall effect on the system. It is not as risky, as expensive and as complicated, as most space-based geoengineering procedures.

Geoengineering the ozone layer when the need arises and its solution can have the world understand that geoengineering is not an alternative introduced to further harm the world, but to mitigate the harm, some of our activities have triggered.

About David Stephen

I write Scientific research papers, I am 24 and a graduate of Physics.
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