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Where is ozone found in the atmosphere?
Ozone is mainly found in two regions of the Earth's atmosphere. Most ozone (about 90%) resides in a layer that begins between 6 and 10 miles (10 and 17 kilometers) above the Earth's surface and extends up to about 30 miles (50 kilometers). This region of the atmosphere is called the stratosphere. The ozone in this region is commonly known as the ozone layer. The remaining ozone is in the lower region of the atmosphere, which is commonly called the troposphere. The figure (above) shows an example of how ozone is distributed in the atmosphere.
There is also widespread scientific and public interest and concern about losses of ozone in the stratosphere. Ground-based and satellite instruments have measured decreases in the amount of stratospheric ozone in our atmosphere. Over some parts of Antarctica, up to 60% of the total overhead amount of ozone (known as the column ozone) is depleted during Antarctic spring (September-November). This phenomenon is known as the Antarctic ozone hole. In the Arctic polar regions, similar processes occur that have also led to significant chemical depletion of the column ozone during late winter and spring in 7 out of the last 11 years. The ozone loss from January through late March has been typically 20-25%, and shorter-period losses have been higher, depending on the meteorological conditions encountered in the Arctic stratosphere.