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Dispelling the Myths of Ozone Layer Depletion

This page provides links to a series of detailed responses to the most common misunderstandings about ozone depletion.

Myth #1: CFCs are heavier than air, so they can’t reach the ozone layer.

False! Although CFCs and other ozone depleting substances (ODS) are heavier than air, the winds in the troposphere stir around ODS molecules to mix them with air and lift them up to the ozone layer.

Myth #2: Volcanoes are causing ozone layer depletion.

False! Although volcanic eruptions are powerful events that can inject hydrogen chloride into the atmosphere, the vast majority of eruptions are too weak to reach the stratosphere. ODS are the real source of stratospheric chlorine and thus ozone layer depletion. In addition to the link above, a discussion of the role of aerosols from Mt. Pinatubo in ozone depletion is also provided.

Myth #3: Ozone layer depletion occurs only in Antarctica.

False! Ozone layer depletion has been measured everywhere outside of the tropics, not just Antarctica.

Myth #4: No link exists between ozone layer depletion and higher UV levels.

False! Studies have shown a clear connection between reduced ozone levels and higher levels of UVB, and laboratory experiments have confirmed that ozone absorbs UVB.

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