A new study shows chlorine ions and electrons in ozone have been dropping for decades, with the two factors affecting ozone levels at the same time.
The finding could help scientists better understand how the ozone layer protects life on Earth, and it could also help determine whether ozone pollution can be reduced.
The findings appear in the journal Science Advances.
“It’s an exciting discovery because it confirms that ozone is a key player in the ozone balance, which is important for humans,” said lead author J. Craig Spencer, a professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences at Rutgers University.
“We’re seeing this at different stages of the cycle, which can be useful to us to understand how ozone is changing.”
“We can measure ozone and see it dropping in many different ways,” said co-author Michael S. Fischbach, a Rutgers associate professor of chemistry and of atmospheric sciences.
“But for the first time, we’re showing how ozone has been decreasing.”
Spencer and Fischbach analyzed data from the European Space Agency’s Operational Environmental Monitoring (OEM) satellite.
The satellite, which measures ozone, has been orbiting Earth since 2003.
The data is sent back to Earth every 30 days, and ozone levels are measured every 15 days.
Ozone is the gas that gives off ultraviolet light, which in turn gives off visible light, and which is what causes ozone to form.
Ozone levels are also monitored by satellites that collect data on the ozone concentration in the stratosphere.
They can tell us whether ozone has risen, fallen, or remained the same.
The satellites measure the ozone concentrations at the Earth’s surface and in the air around the world, and they also measure ozone levels on the ground.
The team measured ozone concentrations in the troposphere (about 70 kilometers above the surface) and the stratospheric ozone layer (about 400 kilometers below the surface).
The stratospherically thin layer of the stratocumulus clouds protects Earth from ultraviolet light.
Oval ozone concentrations were highest in the upper troposphere.
In the lower troposphere, ozone levels were lower than in the middle stratosphere, and there were higher ozone concentrations near the surface.
The researchers used data from data from several ozone monitoring satellites that were launched in the 1980s and 1990s, as well as from satellite instruments in orbit that were installed in 2011.
“The ozone measurements taken from satellites in orbit are pretty much the same, except for the instruments,” Spencer said.
“The instruments measure the same measurements and can measure the exact same ozone measurements.”
“The satellite data from orbit is just so different,” Fischbeck said.
In addition to measurements in the Stratosphere and the ozone layers, the scientists used data on ozone measurements from three other satellites: the Global Hydrological Satellite System, the Geostationary Operational Satellite System and the Global Precipitation Measurement System.
The scientists compared ozone measurements at the stratotemperature (temperature at which water vapors condense), ionic (air molecules with electrons) and ionic flux (air particles with protons).
Ozone measurements in each layer were compared with those in the other layers.
The stratospheroid ozone measurements were based on data collected by the Global Ozone Monitoring Program, an international collaboration that gathers ozone data from dozens of countries.
The ozone measurement at the ozone boundary layer was based on the data from four different satellites that orbit over Earth and monitor ozone levels in the lower stratosphere and upper tropospheres.
Ovulation measurements from a satellite called the Geosynchronous Ozone Environment Explorer (GOE) at the University of Hawaii’s Space Weather Lab show that ozone concentrations are dropping, and that ozone at the boundary layer has been declining for decades.
Oyster levels are at their lowest point since 1981, according to Spencer.
The researchers also found that ozone levels decreased more rapidly in the northern hemisphere than in southern hemispheres, and the rate of ozone loss has slowed.
“What we found is that the ozone has stabilized at levels that are within the range of observations we were seeing before,” Fichbach said.
The scientists say this indicates that ozone has lost some of its ability to trap solar radiation.
“We don’t know why the ozone is so good at trapping solar radiation, but it may be because the ozone molecules are ionized,” Fishbach said, adding that the ionized particles have more energy than the molecules without ions.
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The data from these three satellites showed that ozone and ozone-forming ozone molecules have been increasing in concentration, and concentrations in both layers of the ozone-depleting stratosphere are declining.
The authors say this decrease in ozone concentration indicates that we are seeing a decrease in the amount of ozone that can be released