Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

Living Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James Cleaves, Daniele Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Michel Viso

Ozone Layer

  • Gerda HorneckEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27833-4_1144-2



The ozone layer refers to the ozone within the stratosphere of the Earth, where over 90 % of the Earth’s ozone resides. This layer absorbs the Sun’s high-energy ultraviolet radiation of wavelengths <290 nm. The concentration of ozone is measured in Dobson units (DU).


The existence of an ozone layer in the upper regions of our atmosphere was detected in 1913 by Charles Fabry and Henri Buisson. In 1924, G.M.B. Dobson built the first spectrograph to measure the seasonal variation of ozone. From 1928 to 1958, Dobson established a worldwide network of ozone monitoring stations that are operating up to date. In his honor the “Dobson unit” was defined as measure of the columnar density of ozone above the Earth surface (see definition below).


On Earth, the stratospheric ozone layer is found at an altitude from 20 to 40 km. It is created when ultraviolet radiation from the Sun strikes the oxygen molecules in the stratosphere. By this...


Oxygen photochemistry Ozone UV screening 
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References and Further Reading

  1. Cockell CS, Horneck G (2001) The history of the UV radiation climate of the Earth – theoretical and space-based observations. Photochem Photobiol 73:447–451CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Graedel TE, Crutzen PJ (1993) Atmospheric change: an Earth system perspective, 2nd edn. Freeman, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  3. Häder DP (ed) (1997) The effects of ozone depletion on aquatic ecosystems. Academic, RG LandesGoogle Scholar
  4. Horneck G, Rettberg P, Rabbow E, Strauch W, Seckmeyer G, Facius R, Reitz G, Strauch K, Schott JU (1996) Biological dosimetry of solar radiation for different simulated ozone column thickness. J Photochem Photobiol B Biol 32:189–196CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.DLR German Aerospace CenterInstitute of Aerospace Medicine, Radiation BiologyKölnGermany