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NASA reveals new results from inside the ozone hole
Date:12/11/2013

ove the ozone destruction in the lower stratosphere.

"Our work shows that the classic metrics based on the total ozone values have limitations they don't tell us the whole story," Kramarova said.

The classic metrics create the impression that the ozone hole has improved as a result of the Montreal protocol. In reality, meteorology was responsible for the increased ozone and resulting smaller hole, as ozone-depleting substances that year were still elevated. The study has been submitted to the journal of Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics.

Separate research led by Strahan tackled the holes of 2006 and 2011 two of the largest and deepest holes in the past decade. Despite their similar area, however, Strahan shows that they became that way for very different reasons.

Strahan used data from the NASA Aura satellite's Microwave Limb Sounder to track the amount of nitrous oxide, a tracer gas inversely related to the amount of ozone depleting chlorine. The researchers were surprised to find that the holes of 2006 and 2011 contained different amounts of ozone-depleting chlorine. Given that fact, how could the two holes be equally severe?

The researchers next used a model to simulate the chemistry and winds of the atmosphere. Then they re-ran the simulation with the ozone-destroying reactions turned off to understand the role that the winds played in bringing ozone to the Antarctic. Results showed that in 2011, there was less ozone destruction than in 2006 because the winds transported less ozone to the Antarctic so there was less ozone to lose. This was a meteorological, not chemical effect. In contrast, wind blew more ozone to the Antarctic in 2006 and thus there was more ozone destruction. The research has been submitted to the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

This work shows that the severity of the ozone hole as measured by the classic total column measurements does not reveal the significant year-to-year varia
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Contact: Kathryn Hansen
Kathryn.h.hansen@nasa.gov
301-286-1046
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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