What is Ozone?
Ozone: Good Up High - Bad Nearby
Ozone (O3) is a highly reactive gas composed of three oxygen atoms. Depending
on where it is in the atmosphere, ozone affects life on Earth in either
good or bad ways.
Stratospheric ozone is formed naturally through the interaction of solar
ultraviolet (UV) radiation with molecular oxygen (O2). The stratospheric "ozone
layer" extends from approximately six to thirty miles above the Earth's
surface and reduces the amount of harmful UV radiation reaching the Earth's
Tropospheric, or ground-level, ozone forms primarily from reactions between
two major classes of air pollutants: volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
and nitrogen oxides (NOx). These reactions depend on the presence of heat
and sunlight, meaning more ozone forms in the summer months.
|NOx is emitted by cars, power plants, industrial plants, and other
sources. Significant sources of VOC emissions include gasoline pumps,
chemical plants, oil-based paints, auto body shops, print shops, consumer
products and some trees. Significant human-made sources of VOC emissions
include gasoline pumps, chemical plants, oil-based paints, auto body
shops, print shops, and some consumer products.
Ozone Season: Not Just Life in the Big City
May through September is known as “ozone season;” however, ozone
pollution can occur throughout the year in some southern locations. Ozone pollution
isn’t limited to big cities like Los Angeles, Houston and New York. It’s
also found in smaller cities like Raleigh, NC and Cincinnati, OH. And it can
be a problem in rural areas, including some national parks. Ozone and the pollutants
that react to form it (NOx and VOCs) can also be carried on the wind to affect
air quality in urban and rural areas many miles away.
Good Up High - Bad Nearby for more information