IIT Kharagpur unveiled the increasing ozone pollution in Antarctica

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IIT Kharagpur researchers revealed significant increase of ozone pollution in the Antarctic troposphere for the past 25 years, which is a concern as the region is far from the industries and continental emission sources.

A recent scientific study analysed the significant increase of Surface Ozone and Tropospheric Ozone in Antarctica for the past 25 years. The research findings were supported by surface-based and ozonesonde measurements in Antarctica.

“The increasing trend in ozone pollution across Antarctica would have a profound impact on the future climate of one of the most climate-sensitive regions on the Earth, as tropospheric ozone has warming feedback to the Earth’s climate, and that can accelerate melting of sea-ice, changes in water masses, and damages to the ecosystem”, said Prof Jayanarayanan Kuttippurath, the lead researcher and Assistant Professor of Centre for Oceans, Rivers, Atmosphere, and Land sciences at IIT Kharagpur.

 The research findings are published in Environmental Science and Technology Journal of the American Chemical Society (https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.0c08491) on June 16, 2021. In this regards, American Chemical Society made the press release on the same date (https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/pressroom/presspacs/2021/acs-presspac-june-16-2021/ozone-pollution-has-increased-in-antartica.html).

The increasing pollution in a remote region with no industries, no significant population, very limited anthropogenic activities and about 6500 km away from the equator, is a serious concern and suggests substantial anthropogenic pollution across the latitudes.  Dominant sources of ozone are both natural and from human-related sources. The researchers compiled the ozone data measured between 1992 and 2018 at ground level and through the atmosphere, from the lower atmosphere into the ozone layer, at eight stations across Antarctica.

“Making measurements and monitoring the environment at remote locations such as Antarctica is very important because of its remoteness and constant clean air there making it easier to detect even slight changes related to global scale, and thus can expose first signals of global change”, added Prof Virendra Kumar Tewari, the IIT Kharagpur Director.


“The increasing trend in ozone pollution is significant even after accounting for the natural variability, and we find substantial amounts of ozone pollution is being transported from neighbouring regions,” said Mr. Pankaj Kumar, the research scholar from the Centre of Oceans, Rivers, Atmosphere and Land Science of IIT Kharagpur as well as the another lead author of the paper.

The authors acknowledged the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Ministry of Education (MoE), and Ministry of Earth Science (MoES) for facilitating the study. They also thanked Dr M Ravichandran, the Director of National Centre for Ocean and Polar Research Goa, India for his encouragement and support for this study.

Media Contact: Prof Jayanarayanan Kuttippurath, Assistant Professor

Email: jayan@coral.iitkgp.ac.in, Ph. no.: +91-9475472847

Contact: Paramita Dey, Junior Assistant

Email: media@iitkgp.ac.in, Ph. No.: +91-3222-282004


By Poulami Mondal

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