Shareworthy: Ozone may be weakening
April 20 - December 31
An international team of researchers discovered changes in ozone levels in two layers of Earth’s atmosphere.
In the troposphere (the lowest layer of Earth’s atmosphere), ozone has increased, which is bad news because it acts as greenhouse gas, trapping outgoing longwave radiation, and thereby heating the Earth.
Meanwhile, ozone levels in the stratosphere (the next layer up from the troposphere) have decreased, which is also bad news, according to the team.
Both of these changes have weakened a natural cooling mechanism of the Southern Ocean, and in turn contributed to warming of the planet.
The Southern Ocean contributes to ocean circulation, transporting heat from the equator to the poles, causing the planet to cool overall.
‘The ocean absorbs excess heat from Earth’s system, acting to balance the excess heat from rising global temperatures
The increased ozone in the lower atmosphere caused 60 per cent of the overall ozone-induced warming seen in the Southern Ocean over the period (1955 to 2000) – far more than previously thought.
Changes to ozone levels in the upper and lower atmosphere were responsible for 30 per cent of the warming seen in ocean waters bordering Antarctica in the second half of the 20th century, the researchers found.