Near Ground Ozone
The gas ozone (O3) is both a blessing and a curse to us: in the stratosphere – the second layer of Earth’s atmosphere – it is indispensable. It protects our planet from harmful ultraviolet radiation (UV). Near the ground, however, ozone jeopardises our health and our ecosystems. It irritates our eyes, impairs our performance and causes respiratory and mucous membrane issues. It may also lead to crop failure.
But how does ozone get to us? Through summer smog – a mixture of pollutants with ozone as its main component that forms near the ground during strong sunlight. Seeing as climate change leads to hotter and drier spells, Berlin is prone to summer smog, especially when the air pollutant limits are exceeded. The result? Higher ozone levels. Cars also play a part in this because their exhaust gases contain nitrogen oxides, which in turn produce ozone. The good news is that the gradual tightening of limits as part of the European emission standards has already led to a significant reduction in these emissions (BMU 2013) (only in German). By 2025, all air pollutant levels are expected to stay below the limits
Since 1984, Berlin has kept track of ozone levels at one station in Wedding. Since 1987, ozone has been measured continuously at several Berlin Air Quality Monitoring Network (BLUME) stations. Today, there are eight ozone measuring stations that also record other pollutants, such as sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. Find more information and mappings from the 1990s here.