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World Ozone Day Educational Activities
September 16, 2014

September 16, 2014
(All Grade Levels)

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Is the ozone hole getting better? Why is some ozone "good" while the other is "bad"? 

Below are links to activities for all grade levels to raise awareness about how and why NASA scientists monitor ozone and why scientists predict the ozone hole recovery will happen around 2070. 

This is important to all of us because:

  • The ozone hole will be with us for a while, but by the next decade it will be getting better.
  • Everyone can protect themselves from increased sun exposure due to the ozone hole. Even getting a mild tan is evidence of ultraviolet skin damage, and severe sunburns with related blisters increases the chances of getting melanoma. Also, simply wearing sunglasses can help protect eyes from developing cataracts. 

The anticipated recovery is credited to an international community that came together with an agreement to vastly curtail chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), a group of chemicals used in everyday applications such as refrigeration, air conditioning and aerosols that were destroying the ozone molecules that shield Earth from the sun's harmful rays. 

Ozone depleting substances are also powerful greenhouse gases. A 1987 international agreement known as the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer has successfully resulted in global international policies to reduce levels of ozone-depleting substances.

The Montreal Protocol provided a double benefit: stopping ozone depletion and slowing the growth of greenhouse gases. While many of these substitutes for ozone depleting substances are ozone safe, many are powerful greenhouse gases, and these substitutes have the potential for offsetting climate gains currently achieved by the Montreal Protocol.

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Teachers:
We hope to hear from you about how you were able to use this information in your classroom. The first 25 teachers to send us a lesson plan or picture of a class project will receive a high-quality NASA poster illustrating data from five different missions over more than 30 years that tracked the development of the ozone hole from space.

More information about ozone monitoring is available at:

Stratospheric Ozone Videos
http://www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/nasaeclips/search.html?terms=ozone

Ozone Watch Website
http://ozonewatch.gsfc.nasa.gov/

Ozone Monitoring Instrument
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/aura/spacecraft/omi.html
http://aura.gsfc.nasa.gov/ozone.html

Ozone Mapping Profiler Suite
http://npp.gsfc.nasa.gov/omps.html

Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment (SAGE)
http://sage.nasa.gov/

Lessons and Activities for All Grade Levels
http://nasawavelength.org/list/624

 


 

Identifying Ozone Variations 

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Purpose:
Students use real ozone data to answer questions.

Grade Level:
7 – 12

Prerequisites:
Introduction to Ozone
Familiarity with accessing websites

Tools:
Computer with Internet access

National Standards:
MS-ESS3-5 -- Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century
MS-ESS3-4 -- Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth’s systems
HS-ESS2-4 -- Use a model to describe how variations in the flow of energy into and out of Earth’s systems result in changes in climate

Vocabulary:
Dobson unit
ozone
ozone layer

Lesson Links:
Ozone Watch -- http://ozonewatch.gsfc.nasa.gov/

Background:
The depletion of the ozone layer is recognized as one of Earth’s most important environmental issues and the Antarctic ozone hole is recognized as one of the most striking indicators of ozone depletion.  During the long winter months of darkness over the Antarctic, temperatures in the stratosphere drop to below -70ºC causing thin clouds of ice crystals to form and trap chlorine-containing compounds. When the sun rises over the Antarctic in the spring (September), ultraviolet light rapidly releases free chlorine atoms into the stratosphere starting a cycle that destroys ozone molecules. In this activity, you will study real ozone data and answer questions about ozone levels.

Procedure: 
Assemble into groups of 2-4 students.

Part I: Explore seasonal ozone hole data
Using the Daily Animation from 2013 -- http://ozonewatch.gsfc.nasa.gov/ozone_maps/movies/OZONE_D2013-07-01%25P1D_G%5e1280X720.MMERRA_LSH.mp4 -- answer the following questions:
1.    During what months do the highest values of ozone occur over the Antarctic?
2.    During what months do the lowest values of ozone occur over the Antarctic? 
3.    How long does the ozone hole typically last?

Part II: Observing the latest seven-day total ozone images, answer the following questions:
1.    Estimate the range of Dobson units over the Antarctic pole.
2.    Estimate the range of Dobson units over the rest of the map excluding the Antarctic pole.

Youtube Override: 
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Ozone minimums, 1979 to 2013.
Image Credit: 
NASA
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The ozone hole; over 30 years of satellite observations
The ozone hole; over 30 years of satellite observations.
Image Credit: 
NASA
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Layers of ozone in Earth's atmosphere
Miles above the surface of the Earth, a thin layer of ozone gas acts as a shield that protects us from harmful ultraviolet light.
Image Credit: 
NASA
Image Token: 
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Page Last Updated: September 15th, 2014
Page Editor: Bob Allen