Reference Terms
from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ozone layer

The ozone layer is the part of the Earth's atmosphere which contains relatively high concentrations of ozone (O3). "Relatively high" means a few parts per million - much higher than the concentrations in the lower atmosphere but still small compared to the main components of the atmosphere.

Although the concentration of ozone in the ozone layer is very small, it is vitally important to life because it absorbs biologically harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the Sun.

The "thickness" of the ozone layer - that is, the total amount of ozone in a column overhead - varies by a large factor worldwide, being in general smaller near the equator and larger as one moves towards the poles.

It also varies with season, being in general thicker during the spring and thinner during the autumn.

Note:   The above text is excerpted from the Wikipedia article "Ozone layer", which has been released under the GNU Free Documentation License.
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May 27, 2015

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updated 12:56 pm ET