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Ozone Hole 2006 Largest on Record

Ozone Hole Area

Minimum Ozone


(million km2)

(DU)

Maximum Daily

Minimum Daily

Year

Date

Value

Date

Value

2006

24 September

 29.6

08 October

84


http://ozonewatch.gsfc.nasa.gov

 
 

 

 

 

 

NASA and NOAA
Announce Ozone Hole is a Double Record Breaker
10.19.06
 


NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists
report this year’s ozone hole in the polar region of the Southern
Hemisphere has broken records for area and depth.

The ozone layer acts to protect life on Earth by blocking harmful
ultraviolet rays from the sun. The “ozone hole” is a severe depletion of
the ozone layer high above Antarctica. It is primarily caused by
human-produced compounds that release chlorine and bromine gases in the
stratosphere.

This image, from Sept. 24, the Antarctic ozone hole was equal to the record single day largest area of 11.4 million square miles, reached on Sept. 9, 2000.
Image right: From September 21-30, 2006 the average area of the ozone
hole was the largest ever observed, at 10.6 million square miles. This
image, from Sept. 24, the Antarctic ozone hole was equal to the record
single-day largest area of 11.4 million square miles, reached on Sept. 9,
2000. Satellite instruments monitor the ozone layer, and we use their data
to create the images that depict the amount of ozone. The blue and purple
colors are where there is the least ozone, and the greens, yellows, and
reds are where there is more ozone. . Credit: NASA

“From September 21 to 30, the average area of the ozone hole was the
largest ever observed, at 10.6 million square miles,” said Paul Newman,
atmospheric scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt,
Md. If the stratospheric weather conditions had been normal, the ozone
hole would be expected to reach a size of about 8.9 to 9.3 million square
miles, about the surface area of North America.

The Ozone Monitoring Instrument on NASA’s Aura satellite measures the
total amount of ozone from the ground to the upper atmosphere over the
entire Antarctic continent. This instrument observed a low value of 85
Dobson Units (DU) on Oct. 8, in a region over the East Antarctic ice
sheet. Dobson Units are a measure of ozone amounts above a fixed point in
the atmosphere. The Ozone Monitoring Instrument was developed by the
Netherlands’ Agency for Aerospace Programs, Delft, The Netherlands, and
the Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, Finland.

Scientists from NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colo.,
use balloon-borne instruments to measure ozone directly over the South
Pole. By Oct. 9, the total column ozone had plunged to 93 DU from
approximately 300 DU in mid-July. More importantly, nearly all of the
ozone in the layer between eight and 13 miles above the Earth’s surface
had been destroyed. In this critical layer, the instrument measured a
record low of only 1.2 DU., having rapidly plunged from an average
non-hole reading of 125 DU in July and August.

“These numbers mean the ozone is virtually gone in this layer of the
atmosphere,” said David Hofmann, director of the Global Monitoring
Division at the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory. “The depleted layer
has an unusual vertical extent this year, so it appears that the 2006
ozone hole will go down as a record-setter.”

Observations by Aura’s Microwave Limb Sounder show extremely high levels
of ozone destroying chlorine chemicals in the lower stratosphere
(approximately 12.4 miles high). These high chlorine values covered the
entire Antarctic region in mid to late September. The high chlorine levels
were accompanied by extremely low values of ozone.

The ozone hole of 2006 is the most severe ozone hole, that is, least amount of ozone, observed to date.
Image left: The ozone hole of 2006 is the most severe ozone hole (least
amount of ozone) observed to date. NASA’s Aura satellite observed a low
value of 85 Dobson Units (DU) on Oct. 8 in a region over the East
Antarctic ice sheet. Dobson Units are a measure of ozone amounts above a
fixed point in the atmosphere. This severe ozone hole resulted from the
very high ozone depleting substance levels and the record cold conditions
in the Antarctic stratosphere. . Credit: NASA

The temperature of the Antarctic stratosphere causes the severity of the
ozone hole to vary from year to year. Colder than average temperatures
result in larger and deeper ozone holes, while warmer temperatures lead to
smaller ones. The NOAA National Centers for Environmental Prediction
(NCEP) provided analyses of satellite and balloon stratospheric
temperature observations. The temperature readings from NOAA satellites
and balloons during late-September 2006 showed the lower stratosphere at
the rim of Antarctica was approximately nine degrees Fahrenheit colder
than average, increasing the size of this year’s ozone hole by 1.2 to 1.5
million square miles.

The Antarctic stratosphere warms by the return of sunlight at the end of
the polar winter and by large-scale weather systems (planetary-scale
waves) that form in the troposphere and move upward into the stratosphere.
During the 2006 Antarctic winter and spring, these planetary-scale wave
systems were relatively weak, causing the stratosphere to be colder than
average.

As a result of the Montreal Protocol and its amendments, the
concentrations of ozone-depleting substances in the lower atmosphere
(troposphere) peaked around 1995 and are decreasing in both the
troposphere and stratosphere. It is estimated these gases reached peak
levels in the Antarctica stratosphere in 2001. However, these
ozone-depleting substances typically have very long lifetimes in the
atmosphere (more than 40 years).

As a result of this slow decline, the ozone hole is estimated to annually
very slowly decrease in area by about 0.1 to 0.2 percent for the next five
to 10 years. This slow decrease is masked by large year-to-year variations
caused by Antarctic stratosphere weather fluctuations.

The recently completed 2006 World Meteorological Organization/United
Nations Environment Programme Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion
concluded the ozone hole recovery would be masked by annual variability
for the near future and the ozone hole would fully recover in
approximately 2065.

“We now have the largest ozone hole on record for this time of year,” said
Craig Long of NCEP. As the sun rises higher in the sky during October and
November, this unusually large and persistent area may allow much more
ultraviolet light than usual to reach Earth’s surface in the southern
latitudes.

Antarctic ozone hole is worst
ever recorded, UN reports

3 October 2006 – This year’s hole
in the Antarctic ozone layer is the worst on record, not only matching that of
the year 2000 in surface area but registering the largest depletion ever
measured of the naturally occurring gas that filters out cancer- and
cataract-causing ultraviolet (UV) rays, the United Nations meteorological agency
reported today.
“This year’s hole was caused by the continuing presence of peak levels of ozone
destroying substances in the atmosphere combined with a particularly cold
stratospheric winter,” the UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said of
the phenomenon, which appears annually at the start of the southern hemisphere
spring.

Large holes over the Antarctic
are expected to reoccur over the next two decades before a clear decline in size
and depth, and the Montreal Protocol and Vienna Convention phasing out
ozone-destroying chemicals such as chlorofluorocarbons must be adhered to with
the utmost vigilance, WMO spokesman Mark Oliver told a news briefing in Geneva.

The agency based its assessments
on measurements taken by satellites of the United States National Aeronautics
and Space Administration (NASA) and European Space Agency (ESA), validated by
surface based observations of the WMO Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) ozone
network.

NASA instruments showed that on
25 September the area of the hole reached 29.5 million square kilometres,
compared to 29.4 million in September 2000. Each agency uses different
instruments, giving slightly different values, and according to ESA, the hole
reached 28 million square kilometres on 25 September, very close to its maximum
for 2000, which peaked at 28.4 million.

The ozone mass deficit in 2006
was measured at 39.8 megatonnes on 1 October, higher than in 2000, which peaked
at 39.6 megatonnes on 29 September. Mass deficit is the amount of ozone missing
from a vertical column of air compared to a baseline measured many decades
earlier before severe ozone depletion appeared.

Scientists have become
increasingly aware of possible links between ozone depletion and climate change.
Increased atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases will lead to a warmer
climate at the Earth’s surface. At altitudes where the ozone layer is found, the
same increase is likely to lead to a cooling of the atmosphere, enhancing the
chemical reactions that destroy ozone.

At the same time, the amount of
water vapour in the stratosphere has been increasing at the rate of about 1 per
cent per year. A wetter and colder stratosphere means more polar stratospheric
clouds, which is likely to lead to more severe ozone loss in both polar regions.


21 December 2006

British Antarctic Survey Ozone Bulletin

Ozone levels across Antarctica dropped rapidly in September and were generally
at their minimum in early October. They have now risen above ozone hole limits,
however a significant area of the southern ocean south of Africa is still
experiencing ozone levels substantially below the normal, with a few areas
approaching 40% depletion. Lowest levels are currently near 240 DU over parts of
the Southern Ocean. Temperatures in the ozone layer are now near summer values,
though values remain below the mean of the last few decades. The ozone hole grew
rapidly from mid August and reached nearly 28 million square kilometres in size
at the equinox. The ozone hole was at record or near record size from mid
September until late November, when it began to decline rapidly. Although not an
absolute record in size it was a record for the amount of ozone destroyed. When
the ozone hole became more elliptical the edge of the ozone hole made passes
over the tip of South America and South Georgia and over the latter, uv levels
reached similar values to those seen at mid-day in the tropics.

 


06 December 2006

British Antarctic Survey Ozone Bulletin

Ozone levels across
Antarctica dropped rapidly in September and were generally at their minimum in
early October. They have now risen above ozone hole limits at most locations,
however a large area is still experiencing ozone levels substantially below the
normal, with a few areas approaching 50% depletion. Lowest levels are currently
near 200 DU over parts of the Southern Ocean. The polar vortex is beginning to
collapse rapidly. Temperatures within it remain close to the minimum seen over
the last few decades, but are rising. The ozone hole grew rapidly from mid
August and reached nearly 28 million square kilometres in size at the equinox.
The ozone hole was at record or near record size from mid September until late
November, when it began to decline rapidly and is now around 3 million square
kilometres . Although not an absolute record in size it was a record for the
amount of ozone destroyed. When the ozone hole became more elliptical the edge
of the ozone hole made passes over the tip of South America and South Georgia
and over the latter, uv levels reached similar values to those seen at mid-day
in the tropics.

 


23 November 2006

British Antarctic Survey Ozone Bulletin

Ozone levels across Antarctica
dropped rapidly in September and were generally at their minimum in early
October; they are now slowly rising at most locations. Lowest levels are
currently near 200 DU over parts of Antarctica. The polar vortex is shrinking,
but remains significantly larger than average for this time of year.
Temperatures within it are generally below the normal for the time of year, but
are rising. The ozone hole grew rapidly from mid August and reached nearly 28
million square kilometres in size at the equinox. The ozone hole has been at
record or near record size since mid September. Although not an absolute record
in size it was a record for the amount of ozone destroyed. I t is now shrinking,
although at around 13 million square kilometres it is still a record size for
mid November.

 

 


3 November 2006

British Antarctic Survey Ozone Bulletin

Ozone levels across
Antarctica dropped rapidly in September and were generally at their minimum in
early October; they are now slowly rising at most locations. Lowest levels are
currently below 120 DU over parts of Antarctica. The polar vortex is shrinking,
but remains significantly larger than average for this time of year.
Temperatures within it are generally below the normal for the time of year, but
are rising. The ozone hole grew rapidly from mid August and reached nearly 28
million square kilometres in size at the equinox. It was the largest on record
for the week preceding the equinox, and although not an absolute record in size
it was a record for the amount of ozone destroyed. It is now shrinking, although
at around 15 million square kilometres it is near a record size for early
November. When the ozone hole becomes more elliptical the edge of the ozone hole
can makes passes over the tip of South America and South Georgia.

 


26 October 2006

British Antarctic Survey Ozone Bulletin

Ozone levels across
Antarctica dropped rapidly in September and were at their minimum in early
October; they are now slowly rising at most locations. Lowest levels are
currently below 120 DU over parts of Antarctica. The polar vortex is shrinking,
but remains significantly larger than average for this time of year.
Temperatures within it are generally below the normal for the time of year. The
ozone hole grew rapidly from mid August and reached nearly 28 million square
kilometres in size at the equinox. It was the largest on record for the week
preceding the equinox, and although not an absolute record in size it was a
record for the amount of ozone destroyed. It is now shrinking, although at 19
million square kilometres it is at a record size for late October. The ozone
hole has become much more elliptical at times and the edge of the ozone hole
then makes passes over the tip of South America and South Georgia.

 


20 October2006
NASA and National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists report this year’s
ozone hole in the polar region of the Southern Hemisphere has broken records for
area and depth.


“From September 21 to 30, the average area of the ozone hole was the largest
ever observed, at 10.6 million square miles,” said Paul Newman, atmospheric
scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. If the
stratospheric weather conditions had been normal, the ozone hole would be
expected to reach a size of about 8.9 to 9.3 million square miles, about the
surface area of North America.

 


6 October2006

British Antarctic Survey Ozone Bulletin

Ozone levels across
Antarctica dropped rapidly in September and are now near their minimum. Lowest
levels are currently near 100 DU over parts of Antarctica. The polar vortex is
shrinking, but remains significantly larger than average for this time of year.
Temperatures within it are generally below the normal for the time of year. The
ozone hole grew rapidly from mid August and reached nearly 28 million square
kilometres in size at the equinox. It was the largest on record for the week
preceding the equinox, although not an absolute record in size and it is now
shrinking. The ozone hole has become much more elliptical and the edge of the
ozone hole is making passes over the tip of South America. The next pass is
expected from October 7 to 10. It also crosses South Georgia and here the next
pass is expected from October 9 to 12.

 


3 October2006

World Meteorological Organization

This year’s hole in the Antarctic ozone layer was the most serious on record
exceeding that of 2000. Not only was it the largest in surface area (matching
2000) but also suffered the most mass deficit, meaning that there was less ozone
over the Antarctic than ever previously measured. 

Measurements were taken from
instruments on both NASA and European Space Agency (ESA) satellites. These are
validated by surface based observations of the WMO Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW)
ozone network. Each agency uses different instruments hence the slightly
different values. 

NASA instruments showed that, on
25 September 2006, the area of the hole reached 29.6 million km2, compared to
29.4 million km2 reached in September 2000. 


The ozone mass deficit in 2006 was measured at 39.8 megatonnes on 1 October,
higher than in 2000, which peaked at 39.6 megatonnes on 29 September. Mass
deficit is the amount of ozone missing from a vertical column of air compared to
a baseline measured many decades earlier before severe ozone depletion appeared.
This year’s hole was caused by the continuing presence of peak levels of ozone
destroying substances in the atmosphere combined with a particularly cold
stratospheric winter.

2 October 2006
European Space Agency-
Ozone
measurements made by ESA’s Envisat satellite have revealed the ozone loss of 40
million tonnes on 2 October 2006 has exceeded the record ozone loss of about 39
million tonnes for 2000.Full story click here

The ozone loss at 12:00 GMT of each day
from GOME (1996-2002) and SCIAMACHY (2003-2006) Assimilated Ozone Fields. The
ozone loss is the amount of ozone in megaton necessary to fill the ozone hole to
220 Dobson units (DU) over the whole area. DU stands for the total thickness of
ozone in a given vertical column if it were concentrated into a single slab at
standard temperature and atmospheric pressure – 400 DUs is equivalent to a
thickness of four millimetres, for example. Credits: KNMI/TEMIS

The size of the Antarctic
ozone hole at 12:00 GMT of each day from GOME (1996-2002) and SCIAMACHY
(2003-2006) Assimilated Ozone Fields. The size of the ozone hole is the area on
the globe in million square km of ozone column values below 220 Dobson units
(DU). DU stands for the total thickness of ozone in a given vertical column if
it were concentrated into a single slab at standard temperature and atmospheric
pressure – 400 DUs is equivalent to a thickness of four millimetres, for
example. Credits: KNMI/TEMIS

The depth of the Antarctic
ozone hole at 12:00 GMT of each day from GOME (1996-2002) and SCIAMACHY
(2003-2006) Assimilated Ozone Fields. The depth of the ozone hole is the lowest
ozone column value in Dobson Units (DU) for latitudes below 30° South. DU stands
for the total thickness of ozone in a given vertical column if it were
concentrated into a single slab at standard temperature and atmospheric pressure
– 400 DUs is equivalent to a thickness of four millimetres, for example.
Credits: KNMI/TEMIS

Situation at 2006
September 29

British Antarctic Survey Ozone Bulletin

Ozone levels across
Antarctica have dropped rapidly since mid September. Lowest levels are
approaching 100 DU in parts of Antarctica. The polar vortex is a little larger
than it was at this time last year, although it is beginning to shrink.
Temperatures within it are generally below the normal for the time of year. The
ozone hole grew rapidly from mid August and reached nearly 28 million square
kilometres in size at the equinox. It was the largest on record for the week
preceding the equinox, although not an absolute record in size. The ozone
observing season at Vernadsky and Halley has commenced and both stations are
experiencing ozone hole levels. Rothera can make observations throughout the
year; here ozone values dropped rapidly in mid September and a minimum of 105 DU
was recorded. The edge of the ozone hole is expected to swing over the tip of
South America around October 4. A prediction made at the SCAR conference in
Hobart in July suggested that the 2006 ozone hole is likely to be one of the
larger and deeper ones (perhaps 28 million square kilometres), based on a
correlation with the 100 hPa temperature. [This prediction is clearly
confirmed.] Adrian Tuck predicts a significant spring warming before mid
October. Note: The Antarctic ozone hole is usually largest in early September
and deepest in late September to early October. September 16 is world ozone day.
Prior to the formation of ozone holes, Antarctic ozone values were normally at
their lowest in the autumn (ie March).

Situation at 2006
September 22-WMO Bulletin-
Since
the last Bulletin (12 September) vortex minimum temperatures at 50 hPa continue
to remain around 181-182 K, which is well below the frost point and colder than
for any year in the 1979-2005 period for this time of the year. The average
temperature in the 60-90°S region has increased slightly, from 193 K to 194 K,
but is lower than any other year since 1979 for this time of the year. The area
where temperatures are low enough for existence of polar stratospheric clouds of
type I (NAT) at the 450 K isentropic level (~17 km or ~70 hPa), has continued to
decline from its peak (28.9 million km2) in late July to about 21 million km2 on
18 September. Since early July, the south polar vortex has been larger than the
1996-2005 average at the 450, 550 and 650 K isentropic levels. At 450 K, the
vortex area has on certain days been as large as the maximum for the 1986-2005
time period. Chlorine activation reached its peak around 1 September and is now
declining. There is still a region inside the vortex where hydrochloric acid
(HCl) is completely depleted, which is an indication of complete activation.
Ozonesonde observations show up to 90% ozone loss in the 15-20 km altitude range
by 20 September compared to early August. The area where total ozone is less
than 220 DU (also called the “ozone hole area”) was relatively small until
around 20 August. Since then the ozone hole area has increased more rapidly than
the 1979-2005 average and is now close to 28 million km2, which is more than the
maximum reached in 2005 (26 million km2) and very close to the maximum reached
in 2003. It is still somewhat lower than the ozone hole area in 2000, which
peaked at 28.5 million km2 on 10 September. Measurements of total ozone at
individual stations and total ozone maps synthesised by the World Ozone and UV
Data Centre show that total ozone columns in August and the first half of
September were somewhat larger in 2006 as compared to the same time of the year
in 2005. The last few days, ozone columns at most stations have dropped rapidly
and are now the same as at the same time in 2005. Minimum total ozone columns
from satellite observations have dropped rapidly the last days and are now near
and even below the values observed in 2005. Predictions based on meteorological
forecasts indicate that the vortex will remain relatively concentric and
unperturbed, and it is not likely that areas outside Antarctica will be
significantly affected by the ozone hole between now and 30 September. The
intensity of ultraviolet radiation remains modest, with UV indices not exceeding
3.1 in southern Chile and Antarctica. As ozone depletion continues and the solar
elevation increases, UV indices are expected to increase. 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14
Ozone partial pressure [mPa] Ozone soundings from the Argentinian GAW station
Belgrano (78°S, 35°W). One can see the progression of ozone depletion from 2
August until 20 September. In the height region most affected by ozone
destruction, the depletion amounts to about 80%. The ozone hole is expected to
deepen further over the next couple of weeks. The soundings are carried out as a
collaboration between Argentinian researchers and scientists from the Spanish
Instituto Nacional de Tecnica Aeroespacial (INTA). Global Atmosphere Watch

Situation at 2006
September 16

British Antarctic Survey Ozone Bulletin

Ozone levels across
Antarctica have dropped rapidly in the last week. Lowest levels are now below
150 DU across a large part of Antarctica. The polar vortex is a little larger
than it was at this time last year. Temperatures within it are generally below
the normal for the time of year. The ozone hole grew rapidly from mid August and
reached some 26 million square kilometres in size in mid September, one of the
largest areas on record for this time in September.

Situation at 2006
September 14

British Antarctic Survey Ozone Bulletin

Ozone levels across
the polar vortex are falling, with lowest levels in the edge region, whilst the
circumpolar high is building. The polar vortex is a little larger than it was at
this time last year. Temperatures within it are generally below the normal for
the time of year. The ozone hole grew rapidly from mid August and peaked at some
24 million square kilometres in size in early September, comparable to the hole
in 2005.

Situation at 2006
September 1
 
British Antarctic
Survey Ozone Bulletin

Ozone levels in the
sunlit edge region of the polar vortex are falling and are lowest here, whilst
the circumpolar high is building. The polar vortex is a little larger than it
was at this time last year. Ozone levels in the centre of the vortex are not far
from normal as this area is still in darkness. The ozone hole has grown rapidly
since mid August and is now some 23 million square kilometres in size,
comparable to the hole in 2005.
  

Situation at 2006 August
17
 
British Antarctic
Survey Ozone Bulletin

Ozone levels in the
sunlit edge region of the polar vortex are falling, whilst the circumpolar high
is building. The polar vortex is a little larger than it was at this time last
year. The ozone observing season at Vernadsky has commenced, whilst that at
Halley commences in late August. Rothera can make observations throughout the
year; here ozone values have dropped to ozone hole levels.

Situation at 2006 August
2
 
British Antarctic
Survey Ozone Bulletin

Ozone levels in the
sunlit edge region of the polar vortex are beginning to fall. The ozone
observing season at Vernadsky will soon commence, whilst that at Halley
commences in late August. Rothera can make observations throughout the year;
here ozone values are near ozone hole levels. Andrew Klekociuk of the Australian
Antarctic Division predicts that the 2006 ozone hole is likely to be one of the
larger and deeper ones (perhaps 28 million square kilometres), based on a
correlation with the 100 hPa temperature. Adrian Tuck predicts a significant
spring warming before mid October. Note: The Antarctic ozone hole is usually
largest in early September and deepest in late September to early October.
September 16 is world ozone day. Prior to the formation of ozone holes,
Antarctic ozone values were normally at their lowest in the autumn (ie March).

Situation at 2006 May 5British
Antarctic Survey Ozone Bulletin

Generally
Antarctic ozone levels are past their
autumn minimum, but the polar vortex is spinning up giving a range between 250
DU and 350 DU across the continent.