The key difference between ozone depletion and global warming is that ozone depletion is the decrease in the thickness of the ozone layer, whereas global warming is the increase of heat in the atmosphere.
Ozone depletion and global warming are two major environmental concerns the world’s population face today. Understanding both these phenomena are important for the survival of life on earth since ozone depletion and global warming can bring harmful effects on us.
What is Ozone Depletion?
Ozone depletion is the thinning of the Earth’s ozone layer. The ozone layer is the layer that is responsible for keeping most of the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays (UV rays) out of our planet. Without this layer of protection, we will be experiencing a lot more sunburn and possibly, skin cancers. Ozone is also a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. Let’s look at ozone depletion in detail.
There are two distinct observations regarding ozone depletion;
- A steady decline in the total amount of ozone in earth’s stratosphere
- A much larger springtime decrease in stratospheric ozone around earth’s polar regions.
The major reason for ozone depletion is manufactured chemicals: halocarbon refrigerants, solvents, propellants, CFCs, etc. These gases reach the stratosphere after the emission. In the stratosphere, they release halogen atoms through photodissociation. Thus, this reaction catalyzes the breakdown of ozone molecules into oxygen molecules, leading to ozone depletion.
Effects of Ozone Depletion
- Higher levels of UV-B rays reach the earth’s surface
- Skin cancers and malignant melanoma in human skin
- Increased production of vitamin D
- Affects crops by affecting UV sensitive cyanobacteria
What is Global Warming?
Global warming is the gradual increase in the overall temperature of the earth’s atmosphere, usually attributed to the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect is the phenomenon wherein heat gets trapped within the earth’s atmosphere due to the presence of greenhouse gases. Moreover, the emission of greenhouse gases usually happens from factories, cars, appliances, and even aerosol cans. While some greenhouse gases like ozone are naturally occurring, others are not, and these are more difficult to get rid of.
Although there are time periods with high-temperature variations, this term specifically refers to the observed and continuing increase in average air and ocean temperature. Although some people use the terms global warming and climate change interchangeably, there is a difference between them; climate change includes both global warming and its effects.
Effects of Global Warming
- Rising sea level
- Regional changes in precipitation
- Frequent extreme weather conditions
- Expansion of deserts
What is the Difference Between Ozone Depletion and Global Warming?
Ozone depletion is the thinning of the Earth’s ozone layer and global warming is the gradual increase in the overall temperature of the earth’s atmosphere, mainly due to the greenhouse effect. The key difference between ozone depletion and global warming is that ozone depletion is the decrease in the thickness of the ozone layer whereas global warming is the increase of heat in the atmosphere.
Moreover, a vital difference between ozone depletion and global warming is that the ozone depletion increases the amount of UV rays that reach the earth’s surface; however, global warming increases the heat of the atmosphere by trapping greenhouse gases.
Summary – Ozone Depletion vs Global Warming
Both ozone depletion and global warming adversely affect the life on earth. However, the key difference between ozone depletion and global warming is that ozone depletion is the decrease in the thickness of the ozone layer whereas global warming is the increase of heat in the atmosphere. If there is no change in human habits, our world may suffer irreversible effects due to these effects.
1. Rongxing Guo, in Cross-Border Resource Management (Third Edition), 2018.
2. Alan McIntosh, Jennifer Pontius, in Science and the Global Environment, 2017.
1. “Diagram showing ten indicators of global warming” By US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: National Climatic Data Center – State of the Climate in 2009: Supplemental and Summary Materials (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “NASA and NOAA Announce Ozone Hole is a Double Record Breaker” By NASA – (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia