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Publication Date
17 December 2022

Quantifying contributions of ozone changes to global and arctic warming during the second half of the twentieth century



Ozone is the third most important greenhouse gas in driving global warming, mainly due to increased tropospheric ozone. About 50% of the growth of global tropospheric ozone since preindustrial time occurred during 1955-2005, with continued growth since then. This study quantifies the relative contributions of ozone changes during 1955-2005 to total observed global and Arctic climate changes by comparing CESM1 historical simulations with all anthropogenic and natural radiative forcings including realistic ozone changes, and with the same forcings except with constant ozone or well-mixed greenhouse gases (WMGHG). Results indicate that ozone changes during 1955-2005 have strongly enhanced the downwelling longwave flux and increased net shortwave flux at the surface, and thus significantly contributed about 0.15 °C of global mean surface warming, roughly 21%, 26% and 16% of the observed, all-forcing and WMGHG-driven trends, respectively. In the Arctic in the same period, corresponding ozone-driven warming was about 0.63 °C, roughly 48%, 40% and 25% of the same three trends. During 1979-2005, these ozone changes have markedly added about 0.25 × 106 km2 to the decrease in the Arctic sea ice extent (SIE), or roughly 25%, 48%, and 40% of the same three trends. Considering that the ozone-driven radiative forcing of about 0.22 (0.06) W.m−2 in 1955-2005 (1979-2005) was about 12% (6%) of the corresponding WMGHG forcing, ozone changes had contributed disproportionately to global and Arctic warming and Arctic sea ice decline during the second half of the twentieth century. Tropospheric ozone has shown relatively steady growth since 2006 and might have significantly contributed recent observed warming over the global and the Arctic.

Hu, Yuantao, Qigang Wu, Aixue Hu, and Steven R Schroeder. 2022. “Quantifying Contributions Of Ozone Changes To Global And Arctic Warming During The Second Half Of The Twentieth Century”. Climate Dynamics. Springer Science and Business Media LLC. doi:10.1007/s00382-022-06621-6.
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