Chapter 3.2: Ozone Depletion

We've known for decades that the ozone layer in our stratosphere is being depleted by human-made compounds like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).  Perhaps the most well-known impact of the thinning of the ozone layer is the increased penetration of UVB to the Earth's surface.  One estimate is that for each 2% of ozone depletion, an additional 1% of UVB reaches the surface. Two areas of concern have emerged: human health and ecosystem impacts.

Before you start this case study, visit the web sites listed here to review the chemistry of ozone depletion and physics of UV radiation.


Background Materials:

For general information about ozone depletion, visit one of the following sites:

For a concise review of UV radiation, visit

If you’re looking for information on marine food webs in the Antarctic, try these links: fact file/wildlife/whales/food-web.php

Textbook References and Links:

Exercise 2: Cabrerizo et al. study of marine algal response to UV radiation:

Exercise 3 and 4:  Zacher study of UVB impacts on seaweed spores:

Exercise 5: 
Explore NASA’s OMPS web page
MAPSS: Multi-sensor Aerosol Products Sampling System web site at

Exercise 6:  Hylander and Jephson’s investigation of organismal adaptation to UV radiation:

Downloadable data and files:

Exercise 2: Cabrerizo 2014.pdf

Exercises 3 and 4: Zacher 2014.pdf

Exercise 6: Hylander and Jephson 2010.pdf