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Atmospheric Aerosol


:: Section 8

Global Effects of Atmospheric Aerosol

  Section Contents

The atmospheric aerosol has significant influences on two important global atmospheric processes: global cooling and ozone depletion.

II. Ozone Depletion

Stratospheric particles play an import role in ozone depletion. Under the cold temperature of the polar stratosphere during winter, nitric acid and water vapor condense to form polar stratospheric clouds. The surfaces of the cloud particles serve as sites for the catalytic conversion of stratospheric chlorine compounds to atomic chlorine (Cl), which reacts with ozone (O3) to form oxygen (O2) and chlorine monoxide (ClO). ClO is photolyzed back to Cl and the cycle keeps repeating with the continued destruction of ozone. The following equations demonstrate the above process of ozone depletion. Volcanic eruptions can enhance this process by increasing the stratospheric aerosol.

More information on ozone and ozone depletion can be found on the EPA website.

In which season does the ozone hole grow larger?