Ozone Depletion Cycle

Figure 1. Ozone depletion cycle (Jessica E., u.d.)

  1. UV radiation breaks off a chlorine atom from a CFC molecule.
  2. The chlorine radical attacks an ozone molecule (O3). This breaks and destroys the ozone.
  3. Oxygen molecule (O2) and a chlorine monoxide radical (ClO·) are generated.
  4. The chlorine monoxide radical (ClO·) reacts with a free oxygen atom releasing the chlorine atom and forming an oxygen molecule.
  5. The chlorine radical can now attack and destroy another ozone molecule.

Therefore, one chlorine radical can repeat this destructive cycle thousands of times and results in ozone depletion.


University Cooperation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR). Stratospheric Ozone, the Protector. 2001.

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