The Chapman Cycle

The stratosphere is in a constant cycle with oxygen molecules and their interaction with ultraviolet rays. This process is considered a cycle because of its constant conversion between different molecules of oxygen. The ozone layer is created when ultraviolet rays react with oxygen molecules (O2) to create ozone (O3) and atomic oxygen (O). This process is called the Chapman cycle.

It is important to keep in mind that ozone is constantly being created and destroyed by the Chapman cycle and that these reactions are natural processes, which have been taking place for millions of years. Because of this, the thickness the ozone layer at any particular time can vary greatly. It is also important to know that O2 is constantly being introduced into the atmosphere through photosynthesis, so the ozone layer has the capability of regenerating itself.