How does nitrous oxide contribute to the greenhouse effect?
Nitrous oxide does not have a local environmental impact. On a global scale however it does contribute to global warming and is the third most important greenhouse gas in the UK. Although relatively small amounts are released, it has a high "global warming potential" (310 times that of carbon dioxide).
There are many simple ways to save our ozone layer.
- Avoid the purchase and use of aerosol sprays containing chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).
- Avoid the use of fire extinguishers with halogenated hidrocarbon, a substance being very aggressive to the ozone layer.
- Avoid buying insulating material made from CFC.
- Depending on where ozone resides, it can protect or harm life on Earth. Most ozone resides in the stratosphere (a layer of the atmosphere between 10 and 40 km above us), where it acts as a shield to protect Earth's surface from the sun's harmful ultraviolet radiation.
- The ozone layer acts as a filter for the shorter wavelength and highly hazardous ultraviolet radiation (UVR) from the sun, protecting life on Earth from its potentially harmful effects. When the sky is clear, there is an inverse relationship between stratospheric ozone and solar UVR measured at the Earth's surface.
- When chlorine and bromine atoms come into contact with ozone in the stratosphere, they destroy ozone molecules. One chlorine atom can destroy over 100,000 ozone molecules before it is removed from the stratosphere. These compounds contribute to ozone depletion, and are called ozone-depleting substances (ODS.
The Earth's protective ozone layer is starting to repair itself, according to a panel of United Nations scientists. The main reason behind its recovery, they say, is the fact that certain chemicals, such as those used in aerosol cans, were phased out in the 1980s.
- The average area of the hole observed since 1991 has been roughly 10 million square miles. In 2015 the ozone hole grew to 10.9 million square miles, 2 million square miles larger than this year, before returning to relatively normal summer levels.
- Ozone (O3) is a highly reactive gas composed of three oxygen atoms. It is both a natural and a man-made product that occurs in the Earth's upper atmosphere (the stratosphere) and lower atmosphere (the troposphere).
- Parties. As of 23 June 2015, all countries in the United Nations, the Cook Islands, Holy See, Niue and the supranational European Union have ratified the original Montreal Protocol (see external link below), South Sudan being the last country to ratify the agreement, bringing the total to 197.
Updated: 25th November 2019