Study finds unprecedented Arctic ozone loss

Oct 02, 2011
Left: Ozone in Earth's stratosphere at an altitude of approximately 12 miles (20 kilometers) in mid-March 2011, near the peak of the 2011 Arctic ozone loss. Right: chlorine monoxide - the primary agent of chemical ozone destruction in the cold polar lower stratosphere - for the same day and altitude. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

(PhysOrg.com) -- 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 online Sunday, Oct. 2, 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. The stratospheric ozone layer, extending from about 10 to 20 miles (15 to 35 kilometers) above the surface, protects from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays.

The Antarctic ozone hole forms when extremely cold conditions, common in the winter Antarctic stratosphere, trigger reactions that convert atmospheric chlorine from human-produced chemicals into forms that destroy ozone. The same ozone-loss processes occur each winter in the Arctic. However, the generally warmer stratospheric conditions there limit the area affected and the time frame during which the chemical reactions occur, resulting in far less ozone loss in most years in the Arctic than in the Antarctic.

To investigate the 2011 Arctic ozone loss, scientists from 19 institutions in nine countries (United States, Germany, The Netherlands, Canada, Russia, Finland, Denmark, Japan and Spain) analyzed a comprehensive set of measurements. These included daily global observations of trace gases and clouds from NASA's Aura and CALIPSO spacecraft; ozone measured by instrumented balloons; and atmospheric models. The scientists found that at some altitudes, the cold period in the Arctic lasted more than 30 days longer in 2011 than in any previously studied Arctic winter, leading to the unprecedented ozone loss. Further studies are needed to determine what factors caused the cold period to last so long.

"Day-to-day temperatures in the 2010-11 Arctic winter did not reach lower values than in previous cold Arctic winters," said lead author Gloria Manney of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro. "The difference from previous winters is that temperatures were low enough to produce ozone-destroying forms of chlorine for a much longer time. This implies that if winter Arctic stratospheric temperatures drop just slightly in the future, for example as a result of climate change, then severe Arctic ozone loss may occur more frequently."

The 2011 Arctic ozone loss occurred over an area considerably smaller than that of the Antarctic ozone holes. This is because the Arctic polar vortex, a persistent large-scale cyclone within which the ozone loss takes place, was about 40 percent smaller than a typical Antarctic vortex. While smaller and shorter-lived than its Antarctic counterpart, the Arctic polar vortex is more mobile, often moving over densely populated northern regions. Decreases in overhead ozone lead to increases in surface ultraviolet radiation, which are known to have adverse effects on humans and other life forms.

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.

Manney said that without the 1989 Montreal Protocol, an international treaty limiting production of ozone-depleting substances, chlorine levels already would be so high that an Arctic ozone hole would form every spring. The long atmospheric lifetimes of ozone-depleting chemicals already in the atmosphere mean that ozone holes, and the possibility of future severe ozone loss, will continue for decades.

"Our ability to quantify polar ozone loss and associated processes will be reduced in the future when NASA's Aura and CALIPSO spacecraft, whose trace gas and cloud measurements were central to this study, reach the end of their operational lifetimes," Manney said. "It is imperative that this capability be maintained if we are to reliably predict future loss in a changing climate."

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User comments : 28

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epsi00
3.8 / 5 (4) Oct 02, 2011
We are racing towards extinction.
btb101
3.4 / 5 (7) Oct 02, 2011
this is rather at odds with earlier findings that showed that the ozone layer was actually repairing itself and by late 2020's would be completely healed from 'human damage' ...

at the height of the environmental disaster cries did anyone notice that nobody mentioned the ozone layer?
til now that is...
vos
1.3 / 5 (12) Oct 02, 2011
oooohh jeez here we go with the ozone again. don't you ever get tired of making up crap to be scared of?
jsn3604
1.9 / 5 (7) Oct 02, 2011
I recall the statement earlier about the ozone repairing itself too. Makes me question credibility. I'm sure someone here will mark one out of 5 stars on our comments with a rebuttal. However, that rebuttal should have been in the article in the first place. After all, they have to explain their funding to the tax payers in the first place. Just a thought.
omatumr
1.5 / 5 (21) Oct 02, 2011
Makes me question credibility, . . .


After WikiLeaks and SPACE.com exposed the Trojan Horse [1] and the truth about variable Earth's heat source:

www.space.com/131...ing.html

Environmentalism was a Trojan Horse we welcomed unaware that science [2,3] would be sacrificed for:

Redistribution of wealth [1] under a one-world government.

Conclusions:

A. The Great Reality [4] is greater than dogmatic science.
B. Communion is greater than dogmatic communism.
C. God is much greater than any dogmatic religion.
D. Cowards hide under various dogmatic cloaks.

Regretfully it took me forty years (1971-2011) to decipher this.

1. www.nature.com/ne...20110929

2. www.nature.com/na...9a0.html

3. www.omatumr.com/a...nces.pdf

4. www.youtube.com/w...vJiyeLIo

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
http://myprofile....anuelo09
pianoman
2.3 / 5 (9) Oct 02, 2011
Another "don't know what caused it". How about the fact that up until this year the sun experienced an unusually long absence of solar activity? Just a thought, thanks.
Deesky
5 / 5 (6) Oct 02, 2011
I recall the statement earlier about the ozone repairing itself too. Makes me question credibility.

How about you question your assumptions? Had you read the article carefully, you'd know that they are talking about Arctic ozone levels, not the Antarctic, which WAS in the news all those years ago and which has improved somewhat over the years.

But the two polar 'holes' are quite different. The Arctic situation is generally more stable, less prone to seasonal fluctuations due to more efficient heat transport in the northern hemisphere. The south is more prone to cold snaps (in the upper atmosphere) which affects ozone levels there more frequently. That's why this is a significant result as it speaks to the northern (Arctic) ozone depletion levels.

Also the effects of the now banned pollutants are long lived and will be with us for at least another thirty years.
SteveL
4 / 5 (1) Oct 02, 2011
From the article: "While smaller and shorter-lived than its Antarctic counterpart, the Arctic polar vortex is more mobile, often moving over densely populated northern regions."
You know, at first I thought "What densely populated areas under the Artic polar vortex?" until I saw this:

http://www.resear...zone.htm

You will notice that the Arctic polar vortex does indeed move around quite a bit. You can double click on the first color map to expand it.
ubavontuba
1 / 5 (16) Oct 03, 2011
"...caused by an unusually prolonged period of extremely low temperatures in the stratosphere."

"...the cold period in the Arctic lasted more than 30 days longer in 2011 than in any previously studied Arctic winter..."

Global "warming" strikes again! LOL

PinkElephant
4.4 / 5 (8) Oct 03, 2011
Global "warming" strikes again! LOL
The anthropogenic CO2-induced global warming theory actually PREDICTS that stratosphere will get colder while the surface air mass warms. Not that this is what actually happened here, but still it takes a blithering ignoramus to even make such a statement in the first place.

Did you imagine you were being clever, or something? Dream on.
Ethelred
3.4 / 5 (8) Oct 03, 2011
The Spammer strikes again. How many threads this time?

Space.com did no such thing. That article did not support you in anyway. For that matter neither have you.

So just how do Neutron Stars form when neutron repulsion is alleged by you to be so powerful that it stops Black Holes from forming no matter how large the mass?

Ignoring the question won't magically make you right Oliver. The ideas are contradictory and I bet even the Plasma Universe Cranks can see that now that it has been pointed out.

Ethelred
Deesky
3.2 / 5 (9) Oct 03, 2011
The Spammer strikes again. How many threads this time?

LOL Ethelred, you (rightly) accuse of Ollie of spamming, and then you proceed to do exactly the same thing by submitting the above post all over the place!
hush1
1 / 5 (5) Oct 03, 2011
Also the effects of the now banned pollutants are long lived and will be with us for at least another thirty years.-Dy


Yes. My misplaced faith: The Holy Grail of causes for the worsening dynamics of ozone holes. Now there more to it than meets the ban.

"It is imperative that this capability be maintained if we are to reliably predict future ozone loss in a changing climate." - Manney

Had this been predicted the need to ask that a capability be maintained for reliably prediction becomes moot.
ubavontuba
1.5 / 5 (8) Oct 03, 2011
The anthropogenic CO2-induced global warming theory actually PREDICTS that stratosphere will get colder while the surface air mass warms.
Not exactly. As the CFC's deplete in the atmosphere the long-term scenario is that the stratosphere will warm also.

"...the positive radiative forcing from greenhouse gases overwhelms the sulphate aerosol forcing at the end of the 21st century..."

http://www.grida..../351.htm

Not that this is what actually happened here,
Right. This is a feedback loop caused by LOW temperatures and CFC induced ozone depletion. It must initially be COLD for it to begin.
http://www.wunder...ling.asp

cont...
ubavontuba
1 / 5 (7) Oct 03, 2011
but still it takes a blithering ignoramus to even make such a statement in the first place.
I just think it's funny that every climate incident is blamed on global warming. Whereas realistically, without global warming, these Northern Hemisphere ozone depletion events would likely be more frequent and more severe.

Did you imagine you were being clever, or something? Dream on.
Obviously, too clever for you.

PinkElephant
4.2 / 5 (5) Oct 03, 2011
Not exactly.
Yes exactly:

http://www.wunder...ling.asp

Enlighten me please, what is the great allure of bloviating on matters for which you clearly don't have a grasp of even the most basic underlying theory or facts? What's so great about flaunting your ignorance and making an idiot of yourself on public fora?
I just think it's funny that every climate incident is blamed on global warming.
Yeah, hilarious. Now show me where in the above article is global warming mentioned even once.
Obviously, too clever for you.
And for yourself, which apparently isn't saying much.
Ethelred
3.2 / 5 (6) Oct 03, 2011
you proceed to do exactly the same thing by submitting the above post all over the place!
Yes. Do you expect me to write a new one each time? He has been getting worse and worse over the last few months.

The way I figure it is if enough of us respond in kind Physorg will have to finally respond instead of ignore the way he violates the site. I doubt if even the Insane Immoderator would start deleting my posts without deleting the posts I am responding to.

Join The Cause. Force Physorg To Enforce Their Own Rules On Oliver.

COUNTER SPAM OLIVER NOW.

Ethelred
hush1
1.7 / 5 (6) Oct 03, 2011
This is confusing - PE&Uba are citing the same source to disagree.
PinkElephant
3.8 / 5 (4) Oct 03, 2011
This is confusing - PE&Uba are citing the same source to disagree.
Yes, the point being that uba apparently never bothered to actually understand the content or the implications of what he was referencing. Sort of reminds me of marjon/ryggesogn2 on matters economic and social.
Ethelred
1.8 / 5 (5) Oct 03, 2011
Oops, that was supposed to be a five not a four.

They COULD allow us to change our votes. That would be a good thing.

Ethelred
ubavontuba
1 / 5 (7) Oct 03, 2011
Yes exactly:
What? Are you actually suggesting then that the IPCC is wrong? Or, is it that you don't understand the diference between long term and short term predictions?

Enlighten me please, what is the great allure of bloviating on matters for which you clearly don't have a grasp of even the most basic underlying theory or facts? What's so great about flaunting your ignorance and making an idiot of yourself on public fora?
I wouldn't know. Maybe you should ask this of yourself.

Yeah, hilarious. Now show me where in the above article is global warming mentioned even once.
You must be a bot, 'cause you obviously have no sense of humor, and apparently don't even recognize there's a world beyond the webpage.

And for yourself, which apparently isn't saying much.
Ah, did I hurt the widdle bots' feelings? There, there. It'll be alright.

ubavontuba
1 / 5 (6) Oct 03, 2011
Yes, the point being that uba apparently never bothered to actually understand the content or the implications of what he was referencing. Sort of reminds me of marjon/ryggesogn2 on matters economic and social.
Naw, that'd be you. You do know that the CFC's will eventually diminish, don't you? Oh wait. It doesn't mention that in the article ...how could you know? It's only implied.
PinkElephant
3.7 / 5 (3) Oct 03, 2011
My goodness, you are still not done. Well then, shall I remind you of your own post not too long ago:
The anthropogenic CO2-induced global warming theory actually PREDICTS that stratosphere will get colder while the surface air mass warms.
Not exactly.
What is it, "exactly", that you disagreed with?
you obviously have no sense of humor
What is obvious, is that you have no sense of context. What the hell was the point of your "humor", IN THE CONTEXT OF THIS ARTICLE AND DISCUSSION?
You do know that the CFC's will eventually diminish, don't you?
Yes, and what does that have to do with:
Global "warming" strikes again! LOL
Idiot...
ubavontuba
1 / 5 (4) Oct 03, 2011
What is it, "exactly", that you disagreed with?
It's a short term prediction. In the long term, the reverse is expected.

What is obvious, is that you have no sense of context. What the hell was the point of your "humor", IN THE CONTEXT OF THIS ARTICLE AND DISCUSSION?
It's no surprise you don't understand:

"The hypothetical person lacking a sense of humour would likely find the behaviour induced by humour to be inexplicable, strange, or even irrational."

http://en.wikiped...i/Humour

Humor doesn't need a proper context to be funny. A ridiculous incongruity, itself, is often the basis of humor. But for the humor to become apparent, the incongruity must be resolved. You're just having trouble resolving the incongruity.

Here's a paper that might teach you the value of humor in regards to science:

http://www.logika...1/tm.pdf

ubavontuba
1.1 / 5 (7) Oct 03, 2011
You do know that the CFC's will eventually diminish, don't you?
Yes, and what does that have to do with:

Global "warming" strikes again! LOL
When did I suggest one had to do with the other? This suggestion comes from you, so why don't you explain it?

Idiot...
I know you are, but what am I?

hush1
1 / 5 (3) Oct 04, 2011
Climate reminds me of a child. Raised by partners unsure about what will be best for the child. Bewildered by earlier successes failing the present needs of a child.
hush1
1.8 / 5 (5) Oct 04, 2011
I do not want to be a child of Condoleezza Rice:
"This is your baby."

(An attempt to fulfill a label defined above as humor.)
jsdarkdestruction
1 / 5 (4) Oct 04, 2011
Oliver, do you not know of phase 2 of the plan? see kissinger and nixon knew about neutron repulsion and it being the main source of the suns and the universes power but chairman mao did not. as the world all followed their lead in the conspiracy they said it was to prevent nuclear war. however under the guise of that the united states had different reasons. as the climatoligists/scientists destroy our economy and power while funneling money to third world nations for supportung the scam the chinese will soon grow too strong and overpopulated for anyone but the us to even have a chance of stopping the chinese from taking over the world, at that moment neutron repulsion will be officially "discovered" and cheap easy neutron repulsion energy will be used both to power production of weapons and supplies and as weapons of mass destruction themselves in neutron repulsion bombs. saving the united states and allowing us to finally take over the whole world without looking like the bad guys...

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