The atmospheric Ozone has undergone distinct changes during the second half of the twentieth century. The effect of these changes on ocean heat uptake has been unclear. A new study suggests that Ozone may be weakening one of the Earth’s most important cooling mechanisms. Scientists revealed that the changes to ozone levels in both stratosphere and troposphere contributed to Southern Ocean interior warming.
It is responsible for almost a third of the ocean warming bordening Antarctica in the second half of the 20th century. Deep and rapid warming in the Southern Ocean affects its role as one of the main areas to absorb excess heat as it warms. Dr. Michaela Hegglin said Ozone close to Earth’s surface is harmful to people and the environment, but this study reveals it also has a big impact on the ocean’s ability to absorb excess heat from the atmosphere.
These findings are an eye-opener and hammer home the importance of regulating air pollution to prevent increased ozone levels and rising global temperatures. Decrease in Ozone in the upper atmosphere and increase in the lower atmosphere lead to the warming seen in the upper 2km of the ocean waters in the high latitudes by overall greenhouse gas increases.