Recently I have become very interested in the hot topic of global warming and, through a lot of recent research, I have come to learn a great deal concerning this issue. More importantly though, when I talk to the common person (someone who does little research on their own and gets their scanty information from the media) I find that their facts concerning the greenhouse effect (sometimes miscalled "global warming") and ozone depletion are all mixed and mismatched.
The largest mix-up is simply the difference between the two. The greenhouse effect is a naturally occurring process in Earth's atmosphere that warms the planet. The greenhouse effect occurs when light from the sun passes through the atmosphere, is absorbed by Earth then, instead of being reflected off of Earth surface and back into space, it is trapped by the greenhouse gases, thus raising the temperature of the atmosphere and Earth's surface. Ozone depletion on the other hand occurs when chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, are released into the atmosphere and, after being broken down by the sun's rays, react with and destroy the ozone. Ozone is a molecule that absorbs different types of UV radiation which are harmful to humans and cause dangerous diseases such as skin cancer. A couple of very common misconceptions regarding ozone depletion are: that holes in the ozone layer let more of the sun's rays reach the ground, causing global warming; and that an increase in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere cause ozone depletion. Both of these statements are false. As for a correlation between ozone depletion and global warming, other than the fact that both of them are associated with concentrations of molecules in the atmosphere, I see none.