Oxygen and Ozone: Products and Protectors of Life

  • William W. Hay


Diatomic oxygen, O2, can be produced by dissociation of water vapor in the outer atmosphere, but almost all of the oxygen in the atmosphere today has been produced through photosynthesis, fixing carbon and water to make organic matter and release oxygen. If the organic matter is buried and does not decay, oxygen is left behind in the atmosphere. Triatomic Oxygen, O3, or Ozone is created by the interactions of diatomic oxygen molecules and energetic photons in the upper atmosphere. It settles gravitationally to the base of the stratosphere. It absorbs ultraviolet radiation and protects life on the planet’s surface from those harmful rays. It is decomposed by other compounds, but particularly by some man-made gases, such as chlorofluorocarbons. An international agreement, the Montreal Protocol, is succeeding in phasing out the production of most anthropogenic agents destroying ozone.


Sugar Cane Ultraviolet Radiation Ozone Layer Crassulacean Acid Metabolism Stratospheric Ozone 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Colorado at BoulderEstes ParkUSA

Personalised recommendations