Ozone hole: now at both Poles?

By Prof.dr. P.F. Levelt
KNMI, TUD

A NASA-led study has documented an unprecedented depletion of Earth's protective ozone layer above the Arctic last winter and spring caused by an unusually prolonged period of extremely low temperatures in the stratosphere.

The study, published in the journal Nature, finds the amount of ozone destroyed in the Arctic in 2011 was comparable to that seen in some years in the Antarctic, where an ozone 'hole' has formed each spring since the mid 1980s.

Although the total amount of Arctic ozone measured was much more than twice that typically seen in an Antarctic spring, the amount destroyed was comparable to that in some previous Antarctic ozone holes. This is because ozone levels at the beginning of Arctic winter are typically much greater than those at the beginning of Antarctic winter.

The stratospheric ozone layer, extending from about 15 to 35 kilometers above the surface, protects life on Earth from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays.

This talk will discuss this particular event in the Arctic spring 2011, the regular ozone depletion at the South Pole, and its relation to UV and surface climate.

Willem Barentsz Poolinstituut

Bundeling van kennis, onderzoek en onderwijs over de Noord- en de Zuidpool

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