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Letters to Nature
Nature 271, 430 - 431 (02 February 1978); doi:10.1038/271430a0

Possible climatic and biological impact of nearby supernovae

GARRY E. HUNT

Department of Physics and Astronomy, University College London, London WC1, UK

OZONE plays a very important part in atmospheric radiative transfer. The absorption of the solar ultraviolet radiation by ozone is the dominant heating mechanism in the stratosphere. At thermal infrared wavelengths the main ozone contribution comes from the 9.6 µm band. Clark et al. 1 were unclear, however, whether the supernovae removal of ozone from the atmosphere of the Earth would heat or cool the surface of the planet. There is evidence, reported here, which enables a more precise statement to be made of the effect upon the global Earth. The reduction in the concentration of ozone will cool the stratosphere, troposphere and surface layers of the Earth.

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References

1. Clark, D. H., McCrea, W. H. & Stephenson, F. R. Nature 265, 318 (1977).
2. Manage, S. & Wetherald, R. T. J. atmos. Sci. 24, 241 (1967).
3. Wang, W. C., Yung, Y. L., Lacis, A. A., Mo, T. & Hansen, J. E. Science 194, 685 (1976).
4. Ramanathan, V., Callis, L. B. & Boughner, R. E. J. atmos. Sci. 33, 1092 (1976).
5. Hunt, G. E. J. Quant. Spect. rad. Transfer (in the press).
6. Ruderman, M. A. Science 184, 1079 (1974).
7. SMIC Inadvertent Climate Modification (MIT Press, Massachusetts, 1971).
8. Bates, J. R. Q.J. R. met. Soc. 103, 397 (1977).



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