Weather satellites make it possible for meteorologists to closely watch our atmosphere and its weather. One of the more frightening findings over the last several decades is that the ozone layer in our upper atmosphere appears to be getting thinner. Scientists believe that the thinning ozone is due to certain chemicals that our society is producing. Chemicals know as chlorofluorocarbons (or CFC's for short) are used in air conditioners, refrigerators, styrofoam packaging, and insulation. For many years, CFC's were used in aerosol spray cans (for example, hair spray).

Many countries have now banned the use of CFC's in spray cans, but the ozone depletion continues. This is a serious problem, because without the ozone layer, the ultraviloet rays from the sun will not be shielded from reaching the earth. Ozone depletion is causing many environmental and health concerns, including an alarming increase in skin cancer in humans. Meteorologists have also discovered that there is more carbon dioxide in our atmosphere than there used to be. This increase in carbon dioxide is thought to be caused by the burning fossil fuels such as coal and oil. It is also due to the widespread destruction of forest areas, particularly tropical rain forests.

carbon dioxide is effective in trapping heat that is trying to leave our atmosphere. As a result, this gas helps to keep our atmosphere warm. It is believed that too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere along with other waste gases, will lead to a general global warming known as the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect is beginning to change climates in some areas, along with the types of crops that can (or cannot) be grown in those areas. Also because of the greenhouse effect, we are beginning to see a rise in sea levels around the world. This rise is cause by the melting of glacial ice..