Effects of Ozone Depletion

With the direct connection between Ozone depletion and UV-B, there is enough research of its effects on life on earth.

1. Effects of Human and Animal Health

(I) Eyes: Increase in cases of snow-blindness, cataracts and cataracts associated blindness as well as deaths from ocular melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma of the eye. These are irrespective of our skin colour.

(II) Immune systems: reduced resistance to some tumours and infections, the potential reduction in vaccination effectiveness and increasing severity in some allergies.
(III)Skin Cancers: increase in the rate of melanomas and non-melanoma skin cancer, basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma. It may also increase the rate of photo-ageing.
(Source: Environmental effects of ozone depletion: 1998 Assessment. UNEP)

2. Effects on Terrestrial Ecosystems

Plant growth, as well as its physiological and developmental processes, are all affected negatively. These include the way plants form, the timing of development and growth, distribution of plant nutrients and metabolism, etc. These changes can have significant implications for plant competitive balance, animals that feed on these plants, plant diseases, and biogeochemical cycles.

3. Effects on Aquatic Ecosystems

Phytoplankton form the foundation of aquatic food webs. These usually grow closer to the surface of the water, where there is enough sunlight. Changes in UV levels are known to affect the development and growth of phytoplankton, and naturally, the fish that feed on them. UV radiation is also known to have affected the development stages of fish, shrimp, crab, amphibians and other animals. When this happens, animals in the upper food chain that feed on these tiny fishes are all affected. ‘Early life stages of marine organisms, particularly eggs and larvae, are vulnerable to solar UV-B radiation. In goldfish, for example, embryos are prone to UV effects during early development’ (Source: Effects of solar UV radiation on aquatic ecosystems and interactions with climate change. DOI: 10.1039/b700020k., D.P Hader, H.D. Kumar, R.C. Smith and R.C. Worrest)

4. Effects on biogeochemical cycles

The power of higher UL levels affect the natural balance of gasses (and greenhouse gases) in the biosphere: e.g., carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), carbonyl sulfide (COS) and ozone. Changes in UV levels can cause biosphere-atmosphere feedback resulting from the atmospheric buildup of these gases.