Research explains why ozone layer in the mesosphere depleting

Research explains why ozone layer in the mesosphere depleting

The findings were published in Scientific Reports, which is published by the journal Nature

Prof. Yoshizumi Miyoshi of Nagoya University in Japan has headed a group of experts who have observed, analysed, and offered more understanding into this phenomenon.

The findings were published in Nature’s Scientific Reports journal.

Ozone layer depletion in mesosphere

Aurorae are caused by a process known as electron precipitation. However, new research suggests that this is also responsible for local ozone layer depletion in the mesosphere (lower than the thermosphere), which might have an effect on our climate.

Furthermore, ozone depletion in the mesosphere may occur especially during aurorae. While scientists have examined electron precipitation in connection to aurorae, none have been able to fully explain how it leads to ozone depletion in the mesosphere.

The concept of ‘pulsating aurorae’ (PsA)

They were looking for “pulsating aurorae” (PsA), which are a form of weak aurora.

Coordinated tests with the European Incoherent Scatter (EISCAT) radar (at an altitude between 60 and 120 km, where the PsA occurs), the Japanese spacecraft Arase, and the all-sky camera network allowed them to make their observations.

The trapped electrons in the Earth’s magnetosphere have a wide energy range, according to Arase data. Chorus waves, a form of electromagnetic plasma wave, were also detected in that region of space.

‘Electrons deplete ozone layer in mesosphere’

Electrons with energies ranging from a few keV (kilo electron volts) to MeV (mega electron volts) precipitate to generate PsA, according to EISCAT data. These electrons have enough energy to enter our atmosphere to depths of less than 100 kilometres, up to a height of 60 kilometres, where mesospheric ozone is found.

In fact, simulations based on EISCAT data revealed that when these electrons enter the mesosphere, they promptly deplete the local ozone (by more than 10%).

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