Research ArticleCLIMATOLOGY

Aircraft observations since the 1990s reveal increases of tropospheric ozone at multiple locations across the Northern Hemisphere

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Science Advances  21 Aug 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 34, eaba8272
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aba8272


Tropospheric ozone is an important greenhouse gas, is detrimental to human health and crop and ecosystem productivity, and controls the oxidizing capacity of the troposphere. Because of its high spatial and temporal variability and limited observations, quantifying net tropospheric ozone changes across the Northern Hemisphere on time scales of two decades had not been possible. Here, we show, using newly available observations from an extensive commercial aircraft monitoring network, that tropospheric ozone has increased above 11 regions of the Northern Hemisphere since the mid-1990s, consistent with the OMI/MLS satellite product. The net result of shifting anthropogenic ozone precursor emissions has led to an increase of ozone and its radiative forcing above all 11 study regions of the Northern Hemisphere, despite NOx emission reductions at midlatitudes.

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