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We present a photochemical theory for tropospheric ozone in which the methane oxidation chain constitutes a large local source. This source produces about 1012 odd oxygen molecules cm−2 sec−1 and implies a photochemical lifetime for ozone of about 1 day, much shorter than characteristic mixing times. The photochemical model reproduces the altitude and seasonal dependence of ozone at 30°N. It also gives qualitative agreement with observed day-to-day variations of the ozone density.