Tropospheric Ozone Impacts Climate Warming - Antarctic Dissolve

  • Released Thursday, September 13, 2007

In the first global assessment of the impact of ozone on climate warming, scientists at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), New York, evaluated how ozone in the lowest part of the atmosphere (the troposphere) changed temperatures over the past 100 years. Using the best available estimates of global emissions of gases that create ozone, the GISS computer model study reveals how much this single air pollutant and greenhouse gas has contributed to warming in specific regions of the world.

Ozone was responsible for one-third to half of the observed warming trend in the Arctic during winter and spring, according to the new research. Ozone is transported from the industrialized countries in the Northern Hemisphere to the Arctic quite efficiently during these seasons. The findings will be published soon in the American Geophysical Union's Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres.

The impact of ozone air pollution on climate warming is difficult to pinpoint because, unlike other greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, ozone does not last long enough in the lower atmosphere to spread uniformly around the globe. Its warming impact is much more closely tied to the region it originated from. To capture this complex picture, the GISS scientists used a suite of three-dimensional computer models that starts with data on ozone sources and then tracks how ozone chemically evolved and moved around the world over the past century.

The research was supported by NASA's Atmospheric Chemistry Modeling and Analysis Program.

Temperature Colorbar

Temperature Colorbar

1880 - This image shows a decadal winter and spring seasonal average in the months of December through May between 1880 and 1889.

1880 - This image shows a decadal winter and spring seasonal average in the months of December through May between 1880 and 1889.

1950 - This image shows a decadal winter and spring seasonal average in the months of December through May between 1950 through 1959. The Antarctic region is mostly at or below average.

1950 - This image shows a decadal winter and spring seasonal average in the months of December through May between 1950 through 1959. The Antarctic region is mostly at or below average.

1990 -  This image shows a decadal winter and spring seasonal average in the months of December through May between 1990 and 1999.  The Antarctic region shows some warmer areas, but the poles remain normal.

1990 - This image shows a decadal winter and spring seasonal average in the months of December through May between 1990 and 1999. The Antarctic region shows some warmer areas, but the poles remain normal.



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NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

Release date

This page was originally published on Thursday, September 13, 2007.
This page was last updated on Wednesday, May 3, 2023 at 1:55 PM EDT.


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