Ozone gas and particle pollution are two of the main factors that contribute to poor air quality around the world.
While ozone gas located high in the stratosphere protects us from the sun’s harmful UV rays, pollution from cars and other human emissions near ground level can cause chemical reactions that lead to ozone formation near the surface. Breathing in high levels of ozone is also bad for human health, causing lung diseases and health impacts on sensitive populations such as children, the elderly and people with asthma.
These visuals are showing the ozone that formed near the surface, or 'surface ozone', over the Korean peninsula in June 2013 according to the GEOS-5 Nature Run chemistry model data. Peak ozone in Korea occurs between April and June.
Since Seoul is located on a peninsula, the metropolitan area and the pollution produced here are separated from other sources of emissions. In addition, Seoul’s human-produced emissions are concentrated in its urban areas but are surrounded by more rural agricultural areas. The contrast between urban and rural zones on the peninsula allow scientists to study and differentiate human and naturally-produced emissions and better understand how they interact chemically. Understanding the chemical reactions between urban and agricultural emissions is extremely important for improving models that forecast air quality.