Articles | Volume 19, issue 6
Research article
20 Jun 2023
Research article |  | 20 Jun 2023

Effects of ozone levels on climate through Earth history

Russell Deitrick and Colin Goldblatt

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Cited articles

Alcott, L. J., Mills, B. J. W., and Poulton, S. W.: Stepwise Earth oxygenation is an inherent property of global biogeochemical cycling, Science, 366, 1333–1337,, 2019. a
Arney, G., Domagal-Goldman, S. D., Meadows, V. S., Wolf, E. T., Schwieterman, E., Charnay, B., Claire, M., Hébrard, E., and Trainer, M. G.: The Pale Orange Dot: The Spectrum and Habitability of Hazy Archean Earth, Astrobiology, 16, 873–899,, 2016. a
Bais, A. F., Bernhard, G., McKenzie, R. L., Aucamp, P. J., Young, P. J., Ilyas, M., Jöckel, P., and Deushi, M.: Ozone–climate interactions and effects on solar ultraviolet radiation, Photochem. Photobiol. Sci., 18, 602–640,, 2019. a
Byrne, B. and Goldblatt, C.: Radiative forcing at high concentrations of well-mixed greenhouse gases, Geophys. Res. Lett., 41, 152–160,, 2014a. a
Byrne, B. and Goldblatt, C.: Radiative forcings for 28 potential Archean greenhouse gases, Clim. Past, 10, 1779–1801,, 2014b. a
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 °C 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.