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Main Menu > 4: Ultraviolet Experiments > Graphing Stratospheric Ozone
Graphing Startospheric Ozone

Required Materials

1 - floppy disk

1 - pencil

Sheets of graph paper

Access to the Internet


This lesson includes a simple "how-to" graphing example followed by other more sophisticated examples of graphing using NASA images and images from the Neumayer Antarctic Station. If you have experience graphing and don't need to follow the "how-to" you may want to try the following....

First turn your attention to the "Ozone Chemistry" section. This area contains enough material to enable students to find data and images for graphing. You may want to download the images onto floppy disk or print them out (preferably in color) and consult later when graphing data are assembled. The initial time requirement for this exercise is three hours. The time should be divided into three equal segments.

  1. One hour (or class period) to describe ozone chemistry. Follow the links in the "Ozone Chemistry" section.
  2. Students should spend at least one hour finding and downloading graphics and data from the World Wide Web (WWW). Browsing time will depend upon the number of on-line computers at your school and the access rates of your connection.
  3. Once data or graphics are obtained, students should spend another class period (or one hour) graphing their data. Some examples of graphs are included in the "Graphing" section.
  4. If time permits, some of the social and political issues around ozone depletion may be examined in an additional class period.

    Some examples might be:
  • Economic impact of removing CFCs chlorofluorocarbons from the biosphere.
  • Graphing worldwide production of CFCs since their discovery in 1928.
  • Arguments over the sources of atmospheric chlorine.
  • International agreements on controlling CFC production.
  • Problems concerning disposal of CFCs.
The thumbnails below are averages of the total ozone concentration for the month of October. These images were derived from the Nimbus-7/TOMS instrument. These images will be used in the first part of this resource on graphing. The color scale for these images appears with each full-size image. (Click on the Thumbnails below for larger images.)
Ozone Image Ozone Image Ozone Image
Ozone Image Ozone Image Ozone Image
Ozone Image    
These images are provided courtesy of the Nimbus-7 Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) Images homepage.
How to make a simple graph:
1. Use the TOMS images.
2. Choose a location on the TOMS image to make a measurement (Example: Tierra del Fuego).
3. Make a data table of ozone concentration (Dobson units) for each year.
4. On a piece of graph paper write the years from your data table on one axis. On the other axis write the range of Dobson units from your data table.
The ranges of each set of data should fill each axis as much as possible. Scaling the data is an important skill.
6. The origin of each axis does not have to start at zero.
7. Measure and record the changes.
8. From the data table plot each point on the graph paper from a data pair.
9. Make sure each point on the graph is clearly marked.
10. Make sure each axis is labeled.
11. Give the graph a title.
12. Connect the points of the graph with a smooth line or connect the points with a ruler.

globe icon TOMS Homepage The Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) home page. The images and data contained here are provided by the Ozone Processing Team (OPT) located at at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

globe icon Ozone Sounding at Neumayer -Ozone Soundings at Neumayer Antarctic Research Station Since 1992 regular ozone soundings have been performed using ECC 5A sensors mounted on RS80 radiosondes.

globe icon Learn more about Ozone Chemistry Information from the Ozone Depletion FAQs.

globe icon
Learn more about the images and data used in this activity on the Nimbus-7 Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) Images homepage.

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