Related topics: greenhouse gases · climate change

Smoke from major wildfires destroys the ozone layer, study shows

A new study shows that smoke from wildfires destroys the ozone layer. Researchers caution that if major fires become more frequent with a changing climate, more damaging ultraviolet radiation from the sun will reach the ground.

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Ozone layer

The ozone layer is a layer in Earth's atmosphere which contains relatively high concentrations of ozone (O3). This layer absorbs 93-99% of the sun's high frequency ultraviolet light, which is potentially damaging to life on earth. Over 91% of the ozone in Earth's atmosphere is present here. It is mainly located in the lower portion of the stratosphere from approximately 10 km to 50 km above Earth, though the thickness varies seasonally and geographically. The ozone layer was discovered in 1913 by the French physicists Charles Fabry and Henri Buisson. Its properties were explored in detail by the British meteorologist G. M. B. Dobson, who developed a simple spectrophotometer (the Dobsonmeter) that could be used to measure stratospheric ozone from the ground. Between 1928 and 1958 Dobson established a worldwide network of ozone monitoring stations which continues to operate today. The "Dobson unit", a convenient measure of the total amount of ozone in a column overhead, is named in his honor.

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