15 Nov 2022
15 Nov 2022
Status: this preprint is open for discussion and under review for Climate of the Past (CP).

Effects of Ozone Levels on Climate Through Earth History

Russell Deitrick and Colin Goldblatt Russell Deitrick and Colin Goldblatt
  • School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Abstract. Molecular oxygen in our atmosphere has increased from less than a part per million in the Archean Eon, to a fraction of a percent in the Proterozoic, and finally to modern levels during the Phanerozoic. While oxygen itself has only minor radiative and climatic effects, the accompanying ozone has important consequences for Earth climate. Using the Community Earth System Model (CESM), a 3-D general circulation model, we test the effects of various levels of ozone on Earth's climate. When CO2 is held constant, the global mean surface temperature decreases with decreasing ozone, with a maximum drop of ~3.5 K at near total ozone removal. By supplementing our GCM results with 1-D radiative flux calculations, we are able to test which changes to the atmosphere are responsible for this temperature change. We find that the surface temperature change is caused mostly by the stratosphere being much colder when ozone is absent; this makes it drier, substantially weakening the greenhouse effect. We also examine the effect of the structure of the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere on the formation of clouds, and on the global circulation. At low ozone, both high and low clouds become more abundant, due to changes in the tropospheric stability. These generate opposing short-wave and long-wave radiative forcings that are nearly equal. The Hadley circulation and tropospheric jet streams are strengthened, while the stratospheric polar jets are weakened, the latter being a direct consequence of the change in stratospheric temperatures. This work identifies the major climatic impacts of ozone, an important piece of the evolution of Earth's atmosphere.

Russell Deitrick and Colin Goldblatt

Status: open (until 10 Jan 2023)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-1158', Jim Kasting, 15 Nov 2022 reply

Russell Deitrick and Colin Goldblatt

Russell Deitrick and Colin Goldblatt


Total article views: 189 (including HTML, PDF, and XML)
HTML PDF XML Total BibTeX EndNote
138 43 8 189 3 4
  • HTML: 138
  • PDF: 43
  • XML: 8
  • Total: 189
  • BibTeX: 3
  • EndNote: 4
Views and downloads (calculated since 15 Nov 2022)
Cumulative views and downloads (calculated since 15 Nov 2022)

Viewed (geographical distribution)

Total article views: 184 (including HTML, PDF, and XML) Thereof 184 with geography defined and 0 with unknown origin.
Country # Views %
  • 1
Latest update: 06 Dec 2022
Short summary
Prior to 2.5 billion years ago, ozone was present in our atmosphere only in trace amounts. To understand how climate has changed in response to ozone build-up, we have run 3-D climate simulations with different amounts of ozone. We find that Earth's surface is about 3 to 4 degrees cooler with low ozone. This is caused by cooling of the upper atmosphere, where ozone is a warming agent. Its removal causes the upper atmosphere to become drier, weakening the greenhouse warming by water vapor.