Ozone on the Ground: What is it and Where Does it Come From?


As you know, the earth’s atmosphere is contained and filtered through something called the ozone layer. This layer of chemicals surrounds the earth, protecting it and filtering the sunlight. This ozone is helpful and vital to the survival of the earth. Ground level ozone is a much different matter.

Ozone on the ground level is like a by-product of the emissions from vehicles and from factories. These emissions, mainly from vehicles, contain a number of toxic fumes, but they become even worse when they gather together and form ozone.

Ozone happens when a certain number of things happen. It starts with the fume emissions from vehicles. These fumes include nitrogen oxide. When the chemicals are released into the air, they are exposed to sunlight. If the air is dry and unmoving, the sunlight will react with the chemicals. Since the chemicals do not move, the reaction turns into ground level ozone, or also known as smog.

Because this ozone is created mainly from vehicle emissions and is most common in densely populated areas, large metropolitan cities are most prone to smog. Cities that are located in relatively dry climates are even more susceptible to smog.

Since the ground level ozone does not have a color, you may be wondering how it turns into a murky, cloudy fog. In any environment where a great deal of dust is sent into the air, from vehicles driving on the road or from the basic hustle and bustle of a city, the dust and dirt particles mix with the chemicals of the ground ozone. This created the hazy fog known as smog.

The smog or ozone that concentrates in certain areas can cause a number of health problems for the people who breathe it. These health problems can be long term and can include chronic lung diseases. In addition, the smog is detrimental to the growth of plant life, causing damage to farms and crops. The ozone is also a major contributor to such problems as acid rain and global warming.

Just remember that ozone in the atmosphere is beneficial, helpful, and highly important. Ozone on the ground in our breathing air is dangerous, damaging and harmful. Ground level ozone and smog are an on-going problem due to the high amount of vehicle emissions that are released every day. These emissions can be controlled with emissions checks and tests on every vehicle, and this is why many states are passing laws making these tests a requirement.

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