The ozone layer is contained within the stratosphere. In this layer ozone concentrations are about 2 to 8 parts per million, which is much higher than in the lower atmosphere but still very small compared to the main components of the atmosphere. It is mainly located in the lower portion of the stratosphere from about 15–35 km (9.3–21.7 mi; 49,000–115,000 ft), though the thickness varies seasonally and geographically. About 90% of the ozone in our atmosphere is contained in the stratosphere.
Levels of ozone at various altitudes and blocking of different bands of ultraviolet radiation. Essentially all UVC (100–280 nm) is blocked by dioxygen (from 100–200 nm) or else by ozone (200–280 nm) in the atmosphere. The shorter portion of the UV-C band and the more energetic UV above this band causes the formation of the ozone layer, when single oxygen atoms produced by UV photolysis of dioxygen (below 240 nm) react with more dioxygen. The ozone layer also blocks most, but not quite all, of the sunburn-producing UV-B (280–315 nm) band, which lies in the wavelengths longer than UV-C. The band of UV closest to visible light, UV-A (315–400 nm), is hardly affected by ozone, and most of it reaches the ground. UV-A does not primarily cause skin reddening, but there is evidence that it causes long-term skin damage.