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
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.