Natural halogens buffer tropospheric ozone in a changing climate

Fernando Iglesias-Suarez, Alba Badia, Rafael P. Fernandez, Carlos A. Cuevas, Douglas E. Kinnison, Simone Tilmes, Jean François Lamarque, Mathew C. Long, Ryan Hossaini, Alfonso Saiz-Lopez*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Reactive atmospheric halogens destroy tropospheric ozone (O3), an air pollutant and greenhouse gas. The primary source of natural halogens is emissions from marine phytoplankton and algae, as well as abiotic sources from ocean and tropospheric chemistry, but how their fluxes will change under climate warming, and the resulting impacts on O3, are not well known. Here, we use an Earth system model to estimate that natural halogens deplete approximately 13% of tropospheric O3 in the present-day climate. Despite increased levels of natural halogens through the twenty-first century, this fraction remains stable due to compensation from hemispheric, regional and vertical heterogeneity in tropospheric O3 loss. Notably, this halogen-driven O3 buffering is projected to be greatest over polluted and populated regions, due mainly to iodine chemistry, with important implications for air quality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-154
Number of pages8
JournalNature Climate Change
Volume10
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020

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