Letters to the Editor

Science lesson on ozone layer

The author of a recent letter related to freon and ozone in the atmosphere stated, “Our pseudo experts didn’t consider that freon is heavier than air and therefore could not have had any effect on the ozone layer.”

Most scientists and engineers know that, unlike liquids, differences in densities of gases do not prevent them from mixing with air and being carried upward into the atmosphere by winds and other forces.

For example, the air we breathe contains a mixture of gases with density ratios larger than 10 to 1. The fact that we can smell gasoline, perfumes, vanilla extract, onions, garlic, citrus fruits, newly mowed hay etc. results from the fact that gases with different densities escape from the solids and liquids and mix with the air we breathe.

In any event, atmospheric scientists at several monitoring facilities around the world have used instruments such as gas chromatographs and mass spectrometers to provide indisputable evidence for freon and other heat-trapping and ozone-destroying gases in the upper atmosphere. Descriptions of these facilities can be found by searching ale/gage/agage on the internet. A summary of some typical results can be accessed by searching for “agage paper no 96JD02973” on the internet, selecting the option for the full article and downloading the PDF file.

Harry Pardue, Ferndale