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Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) arises during combustion processes and is, along with particulate matter and ozone, a critical air pollutant.
Nitrogen dioxide attacks the respiratory tract, interferes with biochemical processes and contributes to the acidification of soil and water bodies.
Source: DLR (CC-BY 3.0), Data: EUMETSAT.
Temperature is a key parameter for describing weather and climate. The image shows the temperature in the lower stratosphere at ca. 20 km altitude (56 hPa). Cold temperatures below 200 K favour the accelerated breakdown of ozone (the ozone hole).
The ozone content of the atmosphere. In the stratosphere ozone protects against ionizing ultraviolet radiation, but at ground level it damages the respiratory tract.
The animation shows the total ozone column in the atmosphere. Its dynamic transport in the stratosphere and the development of the ozone hole over the Antarctic can be seen.
Nitrogen dioxide is an air pollutant that negatively affects human health, primarily because it irritates the mucous membranes of the respiratory organs and the eyes. NO2 is emitted during combustion processes in industry, transportation, power plants and households, but also during forest fires and thunderstorms. As a precursor substance for ground-level ozone formation it contributes to radiative forcing as a climate-relevant gas. Because of its bearing on health and the climate, the threshold values for NO2 are regulated by the Air Quality Guidelines for Europe.
Source: DLR (CC-BY 3.0),
Data: WDC-RSAT (http://wdc.dlr.de/data_products/projects/promote/BY-forecast/).
In the troposphere and at ground level, ozone is an air pollutant with harmful effects on human health. For that reason national and international legislation specify continuous monitoring of ozone concentration in the ambient air and the issuing of information or warnings to the public if threshold values are exceeded. Ozone is not directly emitted; it is exclusively produced from precursor substances like NO2 in combination with solar radiation.
Source: DLR (CC-BY 3.0),
Daten: WDC-RSAT (http://wdc.dlr.de/data_products/projects/promote/BY-forecast/).
As tiny liquid and solid particles in the atmosphere, aerosols are important components of Earth’s climate system. Among other functions they control the global energy balance and affect the water cycle. In the form of fine dust they are harmful to human health.
Fine particulate matter is emitted in large quantities in cities and conurbations during combustion processes associated with transport, industry, heating and wood burning. Particulate matter forecasts provide crucial information for patients at risk of respiratory and heart disease.