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NASA BEGINS NEW YEAR WITH INTERNATIONAL ARCTIC OZONE STUDY
Elvia Thompson
Headquarters, Washington            Jan. 6, 2003
(Phone: 202/358-1696)
Rob Gutro/Cynthia O'Carroll
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
(Phone: 301/286-4044/5563)
RELEASE: 03-004
NASA BEGINS NEW YEAR WITH INTERNATIONAL ARCTIC OZONE STUDY
NASA researchers, and more than 350 scientists from the United States,
European Union, Canada, Iceland, Japan, Norway, Poland, Russia and
Switzerland, are working together this winter to measure ozone and other
atmospheric gases. The scientists will use aircraft, large and small
balloons, ground-based instruments and satellites. 
The Arctic campaign runs from Jan. 8 through Feb. 6, 2003.  Flights of
large balloons will augment the aircraft campaign, extending the
measurement period to late March 2003. 
This second SAGE III Ozone Loss and Validation Experiment (SOLVE II)
campaign will be conducted in close collaboration with the European
Commission. It is sponsored by the VINTERSOL (Validation of International
Satellites & Study of Ozone Loss) campaign. (SAGE III stands for the third
Stratospheric Aerosol & Gas Experiment.) SOLVE takes place in Kiruna,
Sweden, the site of the first winter (1999-2000) international effort
(SOLVE I). 
NASA's SAGE III satellite instrument is being used to quantitatively
assess ozone loss in the higher latitudes.  SAGE III was launched onboard
a Russian Meteor-3M spacecraft on December 10, 2001. The validation of the
SAGE III observations is a principal goal of SOLVE II. SOLVE II is
sponsored by NASA's Earth Science Enterprise, dedicated to better
understanding and protecting our home planet. 
"The primary goals of the joint SOLVE II-VINTERSOL campaign are to further
understanding of ozone loss processes in the Arctic, and provide
coincident observations between the airborne and SAGE III measurements.
This comparison will enable the satellite scientists to critically and
quantitatively assess the in-space performance of their instruments to
measure profiles of ozone, aerosols, and water vapor over the Earth," said
Michael Kurylo, SOLVE II co-Program Scientist at NASA Headquarters,
Washington. 
Ozone studies are important, because the ozone layer prevents the sun's
harmful ultraviolet radiation from reaching the Earth's surface.
Ultraviolet radiation is a primary cause of skin cancer. Without
protective upper-level ozone, there would be no life on Earth. 
During the campaign of 1999-2000, record ozone losses of 70 percent were
observed at altitudes around 18 kilometers (11 miles), and a great deal
was learned about the processes leading to the rapid ozone loss in the
Arctic. The SOLVE II campaign will add to that body of knowledge. 
During the coming winter, scientists in SOLVE II-VINTERSOL will work
toward verifying the accuracy of measurements from current Earth observing
satellites. The in situ and remote sensing measurements taken aboard these
aircraft will provide a unique data set for comparison with the SAGE III
instruments and other satellite instruments. Teams from the Centre
National d'Etudes Spatiales (France's National Center for Space Studies)
and NASA will launch research balloons carrying payloads weighing up to
several hundred pounds from Kiruna. A network of over 30 stations of
ground-based instruments will take atmospheric readings over a wide area
to show how the chemical composition of Arctic stratosphere evolves
through the whole winter. 
VINTERSOL is a pan-European campaign involving researchers supported by
the European Commission and national research agencies. 
Although the previously scheduled Media Week has been canceled, the press
may schedule interviews with key scientists by contacting Cynthia
O'Carroll at 301/614-5563. 
For more information and images see:
http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/topstory/20020930solve.html
http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/stories/solve/
For information about the SOLVE II Mission see: 
http://cloud1.arc.nasa.gov/solveII/index.html
For information about SAGE III see:
http://www-sage3.larc.nasa.gov/
For information about the VINTERSOL program see:
http://www.ozone-sec.ch.cam.ac.uk