Multi‐isotope study of ozone: Implications for the heavy ozone anomaly

K. Mauersberger, J. Morton, B. Schueler, J. Stehr, S. M. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Laboratory experiments have been performed with O and O2 in their ground electronic states to study the distribution of all possible ozone isotopes formed. Results show that with respect to 48O3 the two symmetric molecules 17O17O17O and 18O18O18O are depleted, in good agreement with standard recombination theory. A large enrichment of about 18% is found in the asymmetric molecule 16O17O18O, while all others carry about 2/3 of that. A comparison with past laboratory and stratospheric ozone isotope measurements leads to the following conclusion: There is a standard enrichment which resides in asymmetric molecules only. It will lead to an enrichment of stratospheric 49O3 and 50O3 of 8 to 9%; this has been actually observed in recent balloon experiments. Occasionally, the enrichments in the stratosphere are larger, reaching 40% at certain altitudes. Only when ozone was formed in an electric discharge process have larger enrichments been measured in laboratory experiments, affecting both symmetric and asymmetric molecules. The results provide an important connection between numerous laboratory studies and stratospheric measurements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1031-1034
Number of pages4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 7 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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