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New Paper Claims Ozone Is Most Important Driver Of Recent Climate Change

A paper published last week in the Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics claims stratospheric ozone is the most important driver of recent climate, accounting for 75% of Earth’s temperature variations during the period 1926-2011. Ozone is in turn controlled by natural variations in galactic cosmic rays & solar activity, rather than man-made chlorofluorocarbons or ‘greenhouse gases.’ The Svensmark hypothesis relates variations in solar activity to amplified variations of galactic cosmic rays, which in turn result in changes in cloud cover. This new paper may provide a second mechanism by which variations in solar activity are amplified by the effect on galactic cosmic rays and ozone.

Climate sensitivity to the lower stratospheric ozone variations

  • N.A. KilifarskaCorresponding author contact information, E-mail the corresponding author
  • National Institute of Geophysics, Geodesy and Geography, BAS

  • Received 19 August 2011. Revised 5 March 2012. Accepted 8 March 2012. Available online 21 March 2012.


The strong sensitivity of the Earth’s radiation balance to variations in the lower stratospheric ozone – reported previously – is analyzed here by the use of non-linear statistical methods. Our non-linear model of the land air temperature (T) – driven by the measured Arosa total ozone (TOZ) – explains 75% of total variability of Earth’s T variations during the period 1926–2011. We have analyzed also the factors which could influence the TOZ variability and found that the strongest impact belongs to the multi-decadal variations of galactic cosmic rays. Constructing a statistical model of the ozone variability, we have been able to predict the tendency in the land air T evolution till the end of the current decade. Results show that Earth is facing a weak cooling of the surface T by 0.05–0.25 K (depending on the ozone model) until the end of the current solar cycle. A new mechanism for O3 influence on climate is proposed.


► An increased climate sensitivity to ozone variations is analyzed. ► O3 driven model of surface T explains the greatest part of its variability. ► Impact of different factors on lower stratospheric O3 variability is estimated. ► Galactic cosmic rays have a greatest influence on O3. ► Mechanism for ozone influence on climate is described.