(note: excerpts from International Global Atmospheric Chemistry IGBP Report 56, Science Plan and Implementation Strategy, (IGAC), PDF)
Ozone is a powerful oxidising agent and its presence in the troposphere affects human health (via lung tissue damage) and plant health (via leaf damage). (image left of ozone molecule, from UCAR.edu)
While both particles and ozone affect human health, plant damage (PDF) (including of native vegetation, production forests and agricultural crops) is largely caused by ozone. (image right of ozone damage to leaves, from UCAR.edu)
In developed countries most crops are grown in summer when ozone concentrations are highest, thus reducing crop yields.
In many developing countries, population, ozone levels and agricultural demand are all increasing simultaneously, making this an important sustainable development issue.
In the first phase of IGAC the coverage of ozone observations (mapping and climatology) was greatly increased and the processes affecting ozone photochemistry and transport were elucidated.
IGAC will tackle three aspects of tropospheric ozone chemistry.
Firstly, IGAC will seek to improve the spatial, vertical or temporal resolution of observations of ozone and related constituents and parameters in order to quantify the processes controlling ozone and its effect on climate change.
Secondly, IGAC will study transport processes as sources and sinks of ozone in the troposphere.
Thirdly, IGAC will study the basic chemical processes related to the formation and destruction of ozone and other oxidants.
During the second phase of IGAC a new generation of ozone sensors – three on the NASA Aura satellite and the European Space Agency (ESA) Scanning Imaging Absorption Spectrometer for Atmospheric Chartography (SCIAMACHY) instrument – will be operational. (image at left from ESA data products)