New Ozone Climate Data Record

Map of annual average concentration of atmospheric ozone across the globe

Created using the Ozone Climate Data Record, this map depicts the annual average concentration of atmospheric ozone across the globe.

We’re announcing the release of a new Ozone Climate Data Record (CDR) developed by NOAA scientists at the Earth System Research Lab. With its data derived from a variety of instruments including satellites, aircrafts, balloons, and ground-based systems, this CDR contains monthly averages of ozone for 70 distinct atmospheric layers from the surface to the upper atmosphere. Spanning 1979 to 2007, the Ozone CDR provides a consistent, long-term record that allows scientists to understand changes in ozone concentration throughout the atmosphere and around the world.

Ozone is a gas that is naturally present in our atmosphere. About 10% of atmospheric ozone is in the lowest level of Earth’s atmosphere—around 6 to 10 miles above the surface. The remaining 90% resides in the upper atmosphere, or stratosphere, and it makes up the “ozone layer.” The high-altitude ozone layer helps reduce the amount of harmful UV radiation that reaches the Earth’s surface. But, the ground-level ozone, which we breathe in, is often the result of air pollutants, and it can cause a number of adverse health effects to our respiratory systems.

Because of ozone’s properties and effects, the Ozone CDR is particularly valuable to meteorologists, climate modelers, and researchers assessing climate impacts on human health. Additionally, climatologists can use this CDR to help validate the effectiveness of the Montreal Protocol—an international treaty designed to phase out the production of ozone-depleting chemicals like chlorofluorocarbons, carbon tetrachloride, and halons that were commonly found in coolants, refrigerants, aerosol cans, polystyrene cups, fire extinguishers, and packing peanuts prior to the treaty’s inception in 1987.

As with all operational CDRs, the Ozone CDR meets rigorous quality standards recommended by the National Academy of Sciences and other expert organizations to help ensure consistent and reliable products. Visit the Operational Climate Data Records page to access the Ozone CDR, and learn more about all of NCDC’s CDRs from the Climate Data Record Program.