Ozone (O3) in the Troposphere

Ozone (O3) is a highly reactive gas composed of three oxygen atoms that occurs in the stratosphere (upper layer) and troposphere (surface to 15km). In the upper layer of the atmosphere, or stratosphere, ozone absorbs ultraviolet radiation from the sun. However, in the troposphere, close to the earth’s surface, O3, is an air pollutant and heat trapping greenhouse gas. This pollutant can affect human health and effect the productivity of important commercial crops, as well act as a core component of urban smog.

In the troposphere, ozone is the result of interaction with precursor pollutants that have natural and anthropogenic sources and are moved around by global wind patterns. Hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides are largely emitted by cars, fossil fuel power plants, oil refineries, factories and the agricultural sector. Halogenated compounds such as chlorine, bromine and iodine have their main sources from the world ocean, but also have anthropogenically land-derived sources that have minor inputs to atmospheric pollution.

Due to its isolation and geographic position within the Bermuda high, a quasi-permanent system located over the North Atlantic Ocean, data on ozone from Bermuda demonstrates the seasonality of pollution from North America. Specifically, the pollution’s arrival behind springtime cold fronts is the main driver of high-ozone events on the island. These data represent an exploration of ozone seasonality and wind direction (2016-2020) on the remote island of Bermuda.

High Dive into the Data

How were the data collected?

Multimedia Resources

VIDEO: July 2018 NASA Satellite Data

VIDEO: March 2019 NASA Satellite