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January 2002

Publication Title

Australian Science Teachers' Journal



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Atmospheric Sciences | Climate | Meteorology


First year university science students are surveyed about their understanding of the ozone layer, ozone depletion and the effect of ozone depletion on Australia. Although students seem to understand the basic function of the ozone layer, over 65% of students incorrectly believe that the ozone hole is over Australia, and over 90% of students incorrectly believe that the ozone hole is present during the summer. Together these ideas seem to explain why nearly 75% of students blame the ozone hole for Australia’s high rate of skin cancer. Survey results also indicate that students seem confused about global warming, and the connection with ozone depletion. Conclusions from this study suggest that better teaching resources for environmental issues such as ozone depletion and global warming are needed before improvements in students’ understanding can be expected.


This article originally appeared in Australian Science Teachers' Journal in Volume 48, Issue 1, 2002 (the article erroneously shows the date as March 2001). This title is now called Teaching Science which is the flagship journal of the Australian Science Teachers Association