Continuous decline in lower stratospheric ozone offsets ozone layer recovery
Ball, William T.
Mortlock, Daniel J.
Haigh, Joanna D.
Davis, Sean M.
Ziemke, Jerald R.
Rozanov, Eugene V.
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
Ozone forms in the Earth's atmosphere from the photodissociation of molecular oxygen, primarily in the tropical stratosphere. It is then transported to the extratropics by the Brewer-Dobson circulation (BDC), forming a protective "ozone layer" around the globe. Human emissions of halogen-containing ozone-depleting substances (hODSs) led to a decline in stratospheric ozone until they were banned by the Montreal Protocol (MP), and since 1998 ozone in the upper stratosphere shows a likely recovery. Total column ozone (TCO) measurements of ozone between the Earth's surface and the top of the atmosphere, indicate that the ozone layer has stopped declining across the globe, but no clear increase has been observed at latitudes outside the polar regions (60–90). Here we report evidence from multiple satellite measurements that ozone in the lower stratosphere between 60° S and 60° N has declined continuously since 1985. We find that, even though upper stratospheric ozone is recovering in response to the MP, the lower stratospheric changes more than compensate for this, resulting in the conclusion that, globally (60°&tinsp;S–60° N), stratospheric column ozone (StCO) continues to deplete. We find that globally, TCO appears to not have decreased because tropospheric column ozone (TrCO) increases, likely the result of human activity and harmful to respiratory health, are compensating for the stratospheric decreases. The reason for the continued reduction of lower stratospheric ozone is not clear, models do not reproduce these trends, and so the causes now urgently need to be established. Reductions in lower stratospheric ozone trends may partly lead to a small reduction in the warming of the climate, but a reduced ozone layer may also permit an increase in harmful ultra-violet (UV) radiation at the surface and would impact human and ecosystem health. Show more
Journal / seriesAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
PublisherEuropean Geophysical Society
Organisational unit03517 - Peter, Thomas / Peter, Thomas
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