Stratospheric ozone: History and concepts and interactions with climate
Laboratoire Atmosphères, Milieux, Observations Spatiales, Institut Pierre-Simon Laplace, Paris, France
Although in relatively low concentration of a few molecules per million of e e air molecules, atmospheric ozone (trioxygen O3) is essential to sustaining life on the surface of the Earth. Indeed, by absorbing solar radiation between 240 and 320 nm, it shields living organisms including humans from the very harmful ultraviolet radiation UV-B. About 90% of the ozone resides in the stratosphere, a region that extends from the tropopause, whose altitude ranges from 7 km at the poles to 17 km in the tropics, to the stratopause located at about 50 km altitude. Stratospheric ozone is communally referred as the « ozone layer ». Unlike the atmosphere surrounding it, the stratosphere is vertically stratified and stable because the temperature increases with height within it. This particularity originates from heating produced by the absorption of UV radiation by stratospheric ozone. The present chapter describes the main mechanisms that govern the natural balance of ozone in the stratosphere, and its disruption under the influence of human activities.
© EDP Sciences, 2009