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Stratospheric Ozone

The lab activity described here and this Starting Point page were both created by Robert MacKay, Clark College . Much of the online data, images, and video clips referenced are based on material from NASA.

This material is replicated on a number of sites as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service Project


Animations clips from NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio are used to help guide students through an introductory tutorial on stratospheric ozone. Students then explore observational data from ozone-sondes, TOMS, and UARS measurements to learn about changes in stratospheric ozone over the past several decades. Measurements and model predictions are also used to help students understand future stratospheric ozone recovery scenarios.

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Learning Goals

click to enlarge

Key learning objects include:

  • learn about the structure of Earth's atmosphere;
  • learn about stratospheric ozone:
    • how it is produced and destroyed,
    • where it is located,
    • why it is important,
    • and how it is changing.
  • learn about the average vertical distribution of ozone and the vertical location of the ozone hole;
  • learn about ozone measurement and measurement units appropriate for ozone concentrations;
  • learn about factors that may influence the timing of the ozone hole recovery.

Context for Use

This activity and/or the online learning module is appropriate for introductory geoscience courses in which a unit on ozone is planned. The learning activity in pdf format which guides students through the learning module can easily be modified for the particular student population.

Teaching Materials

Stratospheric ozone learning Module

Ozone Activity (Acrobat (PDF) PRIVATE FILE 180kB Feb11 04) This is available for student download at the Stratospheric ozone learning Module link above.

Ozone Activity Answers (Acrobat (PDF) PRIVATE FILE 182kB Feb11 04)

Teaching Notes and Tips



The teaching materials contain a student activity that can help promote student learning. A follow-up class discussion and possible exam questions related to this activity can also be used to help assess student understanding of key ideas and concepts.

References and Resources

The Stratospheric ozone learning Module provides several references for and links. Included are: Many thanks to Dr. Charles Jackman for allowing access to video clips.


Geoscience:Atmospheric Science:Climatology :Atmospheric gases, Geoscience:Atmospheric Science:Meteorology:Atmospheric structure and composition, Environmental Science:Global Change and Climate:Ozone depletion

Resource Type

Audio/Visual:Images/Illustrations, Datasets and Tools:Datasets with Teaching Activities, Activities:Lab Activity, Audio/Visual:Animations/Video

Special Interest

Visualization, Complex Systems, Data, models, or simulations:Data

Grade Level

College Lower (13-14):Introductory Level

Ready for Use

Ready to Use

Earth System Topics

Atmosphere, Climate


Atmosphere, Climate


Teach the Earth:Teaching Environments:Intro Geoscience, Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Environmental Science, Atmospheric Science, Teach the Earth:Teaching Topics:Weather, Teach the Earth:Incorporating Societal Issues:Climate Change