Arctic Ozone “Hole” in March

From the European Space Agency, a story of significant cold and wind patterns that have created an ozone “hole” in the Arctic where there normally isn’t one. The last time this happened was in 1997. It isn’t really a “hole” as you can see in the graphic below there are reduced levels of ozone, but nothing anywhere near zero.

Record loss of ozone over Arctic

ESA’s Envisat satellite has measured record low levels of ozone over the Euro-Atlantic sector of the northern hemisphere during March.

Download: HI-RES MP4 (Size: 1381 kb)

This record low was caused by unusually strong winds, known as the polar vortex, which isolated the atmospheric mass over the North Pole and prevented it from mixing with air in the mid-latitudes.

This led to very low temperatures and created conditions similar to those that occur every southern hemisphere winter over the Antarctic.

As March sunlight hit this cold air mass it released chlorine and bromine atoms – ozone-destroying gases that originate from chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and break ozone down into individual oxygen molecules – predominantly in the lower stratosphere, around 20 km above the surface.

Ozone is a protective atmospheric layer found at around 25 km altitude that acts as a sunlight filter shielding life on Earth from harmful ultraviolet rays, which can harm marine life and increase the risk of skin cancer and cataracts.

Arctic temperature field

Arctic temperature field March 6th

Stratospheric temperatures in the Arctic show strong variations from winter to winter. Last year, temperatures and ozone above the Arctic were very high. The last unusually low stratospheric temperatures over the North Pole were recorded in 1997.

Scientists are investigating why the 2011 and 1997 Arctic winters were so cold and whether these random events are statistically linked to global climate change.

“In a changing climate, it is expected that on average stratospheric temperatures cool, which means more chemical ozone depletion will occur,” said Mark Weber from the University of Bremen.

“On the other hand, many studies show that the stratospheric circulation in the northern hemisphere may be enhanced in the future and, consequently, more ozone will be transported from the tropics into high latitudes and reduce ozone depletion.”

Answering this question requires more research on ozone modelling and ozone trend monitoring, which is only possible because of the historic satellite data on record. ESA’s Climate Change Initiative Programme has a project dedicated to this research.

“Measurements from the Envisat’s Sciamachy, MIPAS and GOMOS instruments are providing unique ozone information that is important in enabling scientists to separate chemical and dynamical changes and helping to identify the influence of climate change on the stratosphere. It is, therefore, essential to keep these instruments measuring for as long as possible,” said Weber.

Banned under the Montreal Protocol, CFCs have still not vanished from the air but are on the decline. Nevertheless, strong chemical ozone depletion will continue to occur in the coming decades during unusually cold Arctic winters.

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64 thoughts on “Arctic Ozone “Hole” in March

  1. “In a changing climate, it is expected that on average stratospheric temperatures cool, which means more chemical ozone depletion will occur,” said Mark Weber from the University of Bremen

    Am I missing something here? Or is AGW already past its sell-by date?

  2. Even when I believed that we were in some way responsible for any loss of Ozone, I could never figure out how:

    Ozone is a protective atmospheric layer found at around 25 km altitude that acts as a sunlight filter shielding life on Earth from harmful ultraviolet rays, which can harm marine life and increase the risk of skin cancer and cataracts.

    could happen when none of the sunlight getting to my skin would ever have been anywhere near the pole. Can anyone tell me?

    Perhaps it bounces off CO2 molecules back to reach me or something, instead of warming some poley bear (or penguin where I am now) just a little so he can avoid freezing to death from all the Global Warming.

  3. These “scientists” are desperately trying to keep the myth going:-

    “Scientists are investigating why the 2011 and 1997 Arctic winters were so cold and whether these random events are statistically linked to global climate change.”

    But it is getting more and more like trying to get farts out of a dead donkey.

  4. I got this on BBC satellite TV, complete with the polar bears, showing the melting ice flows, they said that it was due to ” human
    industrial activity” and that the British Government was asking medical Doctors (whom owing to there position of trust ) to inform the public of the grave situation.

  5. It is likely to be a consequence of the more active sun as it comes up out of the recent deep minimum.

    As I have said elsewhere the precise mixture of particles and wavelengths from the sun (dependent on levels of activity) does seem to alter the net balance of chemical reactions in the atmosphere so as to change the vertical temperature profile and alter the shape and intensity of the polar vortices.

    I would expect the polar vortex to be less intense and larger at the surface at solar minimum as we did iondeed observe with it becoming more intense and smaller at the surface when solar activity picks up again as we now observe.

    There are lots of other confounding factors of course, not least the state of the ocean cycles and the warm/cold SST distributions but all they serve to do is apply a bottom up forcing to modulate the top down solar effect so as to partially disguise the solar signal over periods of less than several decades.

    Note that this is a matter of atmospheric chemistry and not radiative physics so I do not see Leif Svalgaard’s oft stated objections as relevant.

    Many suggest a significant contribution from length of day variations and cosmic ray quantities but I see them as orders of magnitude less significant than the chemical changes.

    Altering the vertical temperature profile so as to shift the air circulation patterns latitudinally and thereby lengthen the air mass boundaries for more mixing and greater cloudiness would be by far the most effective mechanism for altering global albedo and cloudiness quickly.

    I see length of day and cosmic ray quantities as maybe minor players but mostly just coincidental concomitants to the variations in the mix of solar output.

  6. When I was a teenager and began working in the rural world, we built and repaired many 8-wire fences during the Autumn and Winter seasons. The definition of ‘ hole’ seems to have changed since those days. How a ‘thinner layer’ gets classed as a ‘hole’ seems to be a stretch to me, but that’s Post-Normal science, I guess.

    And the idiot who suggests doctors might persuade others of the validity of ‘climate change’ has never heard my doctor’s derisive snort when climate science is mentioned.

  7. Anthony I am bitterly disappointed in you.

    There are no “holes” in the ozone layer, as there IS NO ozone layer except as an imaginary mathematical construct. A “Dobson Unit” measures the amount of ozone in a column of air from ground level to the outer reach of the atmosphere. It is then assumed that all this ozone exists as a “layer” at sea level at zero deg C.

    Most atmospheric ozone occurs as a result of sunlight striking O2 molecules. Obviously this happens most where the two meet – at the outer reaches of the atmosphere, but it can also occur at any altitude. Equally obviously, it DOESN’T happen if either of the two basic ingredients are missing – that is, sunlight or oxygen.

    In case nobody noticed you folk have just finished winter up there in the NH. Winter in the Arctic Circle means NO sunlight. No sunlight means NO ozone. In fact, if it weren’t for the winds from places outside the Arctic Circle (you know – where the sun shines), there would be NO ozone at the Polar Regions at the end of their respective winters.

    The fact that there is some is what Professor Gordon Dobson used to prove the existence of the upper atmospheric winds for which he was awarded the International Geophysical Man of the Year award in 1957. It is also why he invented the Dobson Spectrophotometer which measures ozone in Dobson Units which we still use today.

    About the only factual comment in your article was the first sentence:

    “This record low was caused by unusually strong winds, known as the polar vortex, which isolated the atmospheric mass over the North Pole and prevented it from mixing with air in the mid-latitudes”.

    No mixing of air from where the sun shines = no ozone in the Arctic region where the sun hasn’t been shining. End of story. QED. No need for all the thoroughly discredited crap about cold air masses releasing chlorine and bromine from CFC’s.

    Like the CAGW scam the “CFC’s are destroying the ozone layer” scam was a scam designed to make certain parties a great deal of money. It succeeded.

    It is a shame to see it repeated here as “fact”, not just once, but now twice.

    REPLY: be disappointed all you like, but please do read the first paragraph:

    From the European Space Agency, a story of significant cold and wind patterns that have created an ozone hole in the Arctic where there normally isn’t one. The last time this happened was in 1997. It isn’t really a “hole” as you can see in the graphic below there are reduced levels of ozone, but nothing anywhere near zero.

    Note also in the title “hole” in quote marks.

    I’m not going to change words just because somebody doesn’t like the wording, even if I agree that “hole” isn’t the right way to describe it. It has become common terminology, and I’ve made the appropriate caveat front and center.

    Please note the remainder of the article is from the ESA, follow the link. – Anthony

  8. I’ve never seen anyone try to actually link the “hole” in the ozone layer to either increased UV at ground level or increase in skin cancers. All the people I know that had problems with skin cancer or possible skin cancers had spent a long time sunning themselves in the Med – a long way from the ozone hole.

    There was a fox in my British garden last night – I bet his furry coat gave him great UV protection.

  9. The UK commuters’ morning read, Metro, said about this, ” … cold stratospheric conditions can lead to substantial [ozone] depletion.” And the very next sentence said “Global warming experts focus on the region …”

    So it is worse when it is cold but we need to throw in “global warming”, why not simply say “Researchers focus on the region ….”?

  10. And I thought that the CFC’s had been cleared of Ozone Hole damage and it was decided that the holes were caused by natural changes.

  11. I recently read somewhere a quote from a respected Ozone Hole researcher that about 80% of all the papers published on the Ozone Holes during the Great Ozone Hole Catastrophe in the Making scam were either fraudulent or had major errors that rendered them worthless.
    I also believe that blaming Chlorofluorocarbons for the Ozone depletion was a direct outcome of modeling and that the actual chemical reactions leading to the ozone depletion were never actually replicated in a laboratory until the French did so a few years ago.
    And then it seems that the claimed chemical reactions derived from the models involving CFC’s and ozone depletion were not possible at the atmospheric temperatures, air densities and conditions reigning at the height of the polar ozone holes.

    To quote from the above article;
    “As March sunlight hit this cold air mass it released chlorine and bromine atoms – ozone-destroying gases that originate from chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and break ozone down into individual oxygen molecules “–

    Was the claimed release of chlorine and bromine from the supposed CFC’s actually measured and verified during the re-emergence of the ozone holes?
    What were the measured levels in ppm of Chlorine and Bromine at those levels where ozone was supposedly broken down during the re-emergence of the ozone holes?

    If that data cannot be presented as verified data and I have never seen any such real actual measured data, output from a very dodgy models don’t count, then the whole basis of the claims that CFC’s and their breakdown products, chlorine and bromine are responsible for the ozone holes is null and void and throw all of those claims onto the scrap heap of “failed science” history.

    The great Ozone Hole scam cost the western world’s economies about 130 billion 1998 dollars. DuPont was the single biggest beneficiary as they held the patents for the replacements for CFC’s, replacements which are now suspected of possibly being somewhat carcinogenic.
    The Ozone Hole scam was little more than a warm up exercise for the Great Global Warming scam.

    A dose of good old cheap LPG in place of any of the current CFC replacements in your A/C gives better cooling, cooler compressor head temperatures and much lower system pressures and is nowhere near as hard on the A/C’s components.
    And a special blend of LPG is being used increasingly in A/C’s here in Australia despite a lot of pressure and lobbying from the chemical company producers of the CFC replacements.

  12. In 2011 an Arctic ‘ozone hole’ has formed that is similar to the ‘ozone hole’ which has not formed since 1997.

    So, the Montreal Protocol is a failure: it has not made any discernible difference to polar stratospheric ozone “depletion”.

    Ooops! I forgot.
    The Montreal Protocol became operative at the start of 1989 and thus set the precedent – and created the methods – for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the later (now defunct) Kyoto Protocol. So, the Montreal Protocol was a complete success in its objectives that seemed unassailable until the failed Copenhagen Conference in 2009.

    ‘Ozone hole’? Who cares about that? It never had any importance except as a tool for the ‘green’ agenda.

    Richard

  13. So did I get this correct. They are attributing this somewhat reduced ozone concentration to an unusually strong Arctic Vortex. I suspect it is nowhere near as strong as the circumpolar vortex around Antarctica. And guess what? Down in the south there is a seasonal ozone hole. And that hole can exist because it is isolated from the rest of the Southern Hemisphere where ozone is still being created. SO are ozone holes the result of the action of chloroflourocarbons or are they a natural consequence of wind?

  14. Maybe I too am missing something? How doe we/they know it has not always gone like this over time? The answer? They don’t know it! Still interesting enough if you can get the work.

  15. Makes you think that is UV light is so dangerous to marine life why is it that all the nature shows show marine life to be more abundant than anywhere at the poles who always seem to lack in ozone?

  16. According to the top graphic, there’s less ozone just north of the equator (275 DU) than there is in the Arctic (300 DU). Why has nobody bothered to mention that?

  17. With all that cyan around the edges, doesn’t that make it a ozone doughnut? Or is there really supposed to be less ozone closer to the equator?

  18. It’s obviously far worse than any of us thought, if there are particles at altitude with enough energy to transmute either chlorine, fluorine, or carbon into bromine. …that or the person who wrote this tripe was suffering a complete cranial-rectal inversion when they stated that bromine is released by the breakdown of CFCs.

  19. Being a leading authority without an audience, I noted to a science group and in my own cover blog in Free Republic, that the Ozone layer is probably missed tied to aerosols and Free-On.

    I noted in the USA Today a while back that Ozone ground production in North Carolina has dropped from critical stages over the last four years to normal.

    Since I first correlate climate changes to sunspot activity, it appears that 2006 marks the year we switched from global warming to global cooling. All USA average temperatures went negative by that year.

    Thus, we should now focus on the basic theory that the Ozone Layer is an inter-glacial, global warming feature much as hurricane activity and glacier activity are in correlation to sunspot activity.
    In the Balances, We are still slightly on the Global Cooling side now.

    This will soon mirror the 1963 to 1975 cycle that had everyone preaching
    against aerosols and predicting an Ice Age. Again, the ground crew arguing with ice age scientists.

    Most Sincerely,

    Paul Pierett

  20. What a shame that the ozone layer was only measurable from a few years ago. Pity the Royal Navy salty old sea dogs couldn’t keep records centuries ago. Would the Warmists have any chance of yet more scare mongering? Somehow and this is hardly scientific but I feel in my bones that we have been subjected to variable ozone levels since before mankind came into existence………

    I always did prefer my old aircon mixture R12 and we were conned into getting rid of it!

  21. [snip . . reposting the same comment because it hasn't appeared in the thread will not result in a different outcome . . the post contains words that the spam filter reacts to and the post goes into the spam folder . . when a moderator gets around to clearing out the spam folder it will, all things being equal, be posted. If you think your contribution has gotten lost simply post a short alert to the mods and it will be dealt with more quickly . .

    BTW expressing "bitter disappointment" in Anthony is a bit OTT. This is a science blog not a place for such naked emotion. . . kb]

  22. >>In a changing climate, it is expected that on average
    >>stratospheric temperatures cool,

    I thought that the whole thesis of CO2 AGW depended on stratospheric warming, caused by the CO2, and this forms the ‘greenhouse’ absobtion and emmission layer that warms the world.

    No stratospheric warming, no CO2 AGW.

    .

  23. The article has this:
    “Measurements from the Envisat’s Sciamachy, MIPAS and GOMOS instruments are providing unique ozone information that is important in enabling scientists to separate chemical and dynamical changes”

    But these ‘researchers’ love to plug the chemical rather than the ‘dynamical’ .

    For ‘dynamical’ read the influence of the night jet that brings nitrogen ions from the mesosphere that soak up oxygen ions thereby reducing the population of oxygen ions that are available to couple as O3 (ozone).

    The activity of the night jet varies with surface pressure. We know that the AO index has been extraordinarily low which indicates very high surface pressure over the pole. The outflow of cold air from the poles is responsible for the cold winter.

    These guys have trouble joining the dots. I dont think its really a failure of the intellect. They have an agenda. They call themselves ‘researchers’, but they are not really doing ‘science’ at all.

  24. The North polar vortex is moderately unstable in the winter. Stratosphere temps can be either much lower than normal or much higher than normal. This then leads to much lower or much higher Ozone destruction than normal.

    All the spikes shown in graph below for the UAH North Pole stratosphere temps occur in the winter (a relatively large anomaly of +/- 7.0C). This winter has been one of the large spikes down.

    There is climate phenomenon know as Sudden Stratospheric Warming events in the polar vortexes when the vortexes break down and warmer southern air infiltrates the vortex. In years when the North Pole Stratosphere temps spike up (as shown in the chart above), there is more SSWs or particularly strong ones.

    In 2009, one of the strongest SSWs on record occurred (the big red spot below) and this is certainly reflected in the Stratosphere temps from UAH. [Note SSWs are much more common in the NH than in the SH and only two SSWs have been recorded in Antarctica].

    The big red spot is a breakdown in the polar vortex in 2009.

    There have been no SSWs in the Arctic this year which is not particularly unusual since about 1 out every 3 years does not have them. So naturally, there is big spike down and a decline in Ozone since colder temperatures influence the level of solar destruction of Ozone.

    The North Pole shows a completely different pattern than the global stratosphere temps. In my mind, the global stratosphere pattern is strictly a volcano signature and there is NO GHG signal evident in reality. [The below pattern is evident in the data back to 1958 when the Agung volcanic eruptions in 1963 and 1964 caused the same pattern. Prior to that, the last stratospheric volcanic eruption was Novarupta in 1912, 50 years earlier which allowed enough time for the Ozone to rebuild up to 1963.]

  25. The Greens defined an ozone ‘hole’ as anything below 220 Dobson units several decades ago, and nobody ever called them loudly enough on their con job.

    We have such a ‘hole’ most every Antarctic winter. We probably always have and always will. It is normal for that time of year. Something to do with UV light and oxygen, and how ozone is created.

    In the summer, it always gets back into the 400s or so. Normal for that time of year.

  26. OK Dumb question from a social scientist.

    Are we seeing a natural centrifuge with this, or do I need to keep taking the tablets?

  27. LeeHarvey says:
    April 6, 2011 at 3:46 am

    It’s obviously far worse than any of us thought, if there are particles at altitude with enough energy to transmute either chlorine, fluorine, or carbon into bromine. …that or the person who wrote this tripe was suffering a complete cranial-rectal inversion when they stated that bromine is released by the breakdown of CFCs.

    That’s because they’ve lumped BCF, (BromoChloroFluoromethane,) in with CFCs

    DaveE.

  28. So why should I believe that only “Chlorofluorocarbons” inject chlorine and bromine into the upper atmosphere? Don’t the gases emitted by volcanoes contain the same elements? Aren’t the amount of gases emitted by volcanoes a large multiple of the man-made variety?

    Given that “modeling” was used to determine that humans were causing the problem, I’m betting this is just another spin story. I’m skeptical about DuPont’s interest as well, since their patent on freon was running out, and they were strongly supportive of the charge that freon was the bad guy.

  29. Does anyone know the gas constituents of last years’ various Icelandic eruptions? Was there a free chlorine content? I once saw a partial list of chlorine ion emitting, volcanic vents, but have been unable to locate it. Anyone? GK

  30. I read at least one article (no link, sorry) which baldly stated that this hole was directly due to CO2 trapping the Earth’s heat lower down in the atmosphere, so the upper atmosphere got colder than it should have and thus the ozone was depleted.

    So, my immediate question would have to be “Why didn’t this happen last year, when CO2 levels over the Arctic were almost as high? For that matter, as CO2 levels go higher every year, shouldn’t the ‘hole’ over the Antarctic keep getting bigger every year for the same reason?”

  31. Other than having been broken down, could the ozone have been displaced? It is, after all, rather thicker in the adjacent regions.

  32. I’m with some others (like EMSmith) on ozone production — there seems to be a basic misunderstanding on how ozone is produced & resides in the stratosphere. IIRC, ozone is short-lived (much shorter than a few months), yet high ozone levels are usually present along the “rim” of the polar vortices all winter when there is almost negligible UV exposure. How is it produced & how does it persist there? Transport from lower latitudes doesn’t make much sense as the ozone levels are higher at the rim than anywhere equatorward where the ozone would supposedly be produced.

    Once the “fix” was in, further research on this apparently has dried up as no one wants to upset the CFC protocols.

  33. Ozone is a bigger greenhouse gas than Carbon Dioxide. This appears to be part of a negative feedback cycle. Does anyone know if any of the climate models include it?
    And can anyone tell me the current status of the paper reported here, http://www.nature.com/news/2007/070924/full/449382a.html that claimed “at least 60% of ozone destruction at the poles seems to be due to an unknown mechanism”?

  34. I appreciate that nature provides so much for people with letters after their names to study and worry over. But I also now wonder if perhaps Chicken Little was just a Ph.D who was ahead of the pack in the game of catastrophic predictions requiring government research money. Excuse me while I consult my tree rings for a resolution on this.

  35. Since the Ozone Holes occur in the winter and during the winter almost no solar radiation reaches the ground above the Arctic and below the Antarctic circles (and that which does is at near tangential angles with the ground), polar bears, marine life, and the occasional stray environmentalist reasearcher or grandstander are at no risk from UV light passing through such Ozone Holes.

    You would think that a fair-minded report would mention this, so that all of us lovers of the fuzzy (bears) and foolish (environmentalists) would not be beset with unnecessary anxiety.

  36. Humans tend to forget history. Here are the predictions from the most recent WMO Scientific Assessments of Ozone Depletion (2006 and 2010), not mentioning their 1994, 1998 and 2002 Assessments:

    2006 WMO prediction: “Arctic springtime ozone is projected to increase by 0% to 10% between 2000 and 2020, reaching 1980 values much earlier than when Arctic EESC (CFCs) decreases to 1980 values (2060-2070). By 2100, Arctic ozone is projected to be substantially above 1980 values”.

    2010 WMO prediction: “The ozone loss in Arctic winter and spring between 2007 and 2010 has been variable, but has remained in a range comparable to the values prevailing since the early 1990s”. “New analyses of both satellite and radiosonde data give increased confidence in changes in stratospheric temperatures between 1980 and 2009. The global-mean lower stratosphere cooled by 1–2 K and the upper stratosphere cooled by 4–6 K between 1980 and 1995. There have been no significant long-term trends in global-mean lower stratospheric temperatures since about 1995″. “The global middle and upper stratosphere are expected to cool in the coming century, mainly due to CO2 increases”. “Global ozone is projected to increase approximately in line with the ODS decline, and the increase is accelerated by cooling of the upper stratosphere. Global ozone is not very sensitive to circulation changes, so high confidence can be placed in this projection. The evolution of ozone in the Arctic is projected to be more sensitive to climate change than in the Antarctic. The projected strengthening of the stratospheric Brewer-Dobson circulation is expected to significantly increase lower stratospheric ozone in the Arctic, augmenting the GHG-induced ozone increase from upper stratospheric cooling and hastening the return to 1980 levels”.

    So, would the above WMO reports or the widely-accepted photochemical theory predict a largest arctic ozone depletion for 2011? Definitely not!

    In 2011, the sunlight (solar radiation) has almost the minimum intensity and the level of CFCs has decreased since around one decade ago. Isn’t the apperance of an “unprecedent” polar ozone hole unexpected from the photochemical theory of ozone hole?

    Isn’t there an existing cosmic-ray related theory of the ozone hole, proposed by Dr. Q.-B. Lu in the University of Waterloo, predicting a maximum ozone loss in the polar region during the maximum cosmic ray radiation around 2008-2010 [Q.-B. Lu, Physics Reports 487, 141-167(2010); Physical Review Letters 102, 118501(2009)]? Noteably, Dr. Lu also discovered the correlation between global warming and CFCs and predicting a long-term global cooling in the coming five decades [Journal of Cosmology 8, 1846-1862(2010)].

    The truth is revealing, isn’t it?

  37. The last time this happened was in 1997.
    ====================================
    so again

    They are turning something common and natural into a bedwetting experience….
    ……something that has been happening forever that we wouldn’t even notice or pay attention to

    ….I didn’t realize so much climate science was sponsored by Depends

  38. Curiously enough, there is this little gem from the British Antarctic Survey!

    Woops won’t link. Will try again later. For the time being, I did a google search on “ozone hole” & went to BAS. I know it’s at the other end, anyway for those interested, the “recent research” done in 2007, talks of large amounts of ozone depleting halogens, bromine & iodine found in Antarctica. These halogens do not appear to come from wicked old hooman beans, but the bromine comes from the sea-salt, & the iodine from algae that apparently covers the underside of the sea-ice. Could this be something occurring up top?

  39. I think we will find in the coming years that Polar Vortices, especially when they form and when they break down, play a very important role in Earth’s climate system. Note at the end (April 3rd) of the following animations, when the Northern pole becomes dominated by low pressure, the Southern pole becomes dominated by high pressure:

    Northern Hemisphere – 500-hPa /mb Height (Pressure) Anomalies – At Approximately 5500 meters (18,000 feet)

    Southern Hemisphere – 500-hPa /mb Height (Pressure) Anomalies – At Approximately 5500 meters (18,000 feet)

    No conclusions to be drawn yet, but it’s two sides of the same coin, and when one pole is dominated but a large low pressure area, caused by a strong persistent Polar Vortex, it stands to reason that there would be a high pressure area somewhere on Earth to compensate.

    A bit of background on Polar Vortices, “vortices are caused when an area of low pressure sits at the rotation pole of a planet. This causes air to spiral down from higher in the atmosphere, like water going down a drain. Any planet with an atmosphere, even the Earth, can form a vortex like this. Venus’ vortex is unusual because it has two eyes that rotate around each other.”

    http://www.universetoday.com/973/what-venus-and-saturn-have-in-common/

    “The vortex is most powerful in the hemisphere’s winter, when the temperature gradient is steepest, and diminishes or can disappear in the summer. The Antarctic polar vortex is more pronounced and persistent than the Arctic one; this is because the distribution of land masses at high latitudes in the northern hemisphere gives rise to Rossby waves which contribute to the breakdown of the vortex, whereas in the southern hemisphere the vortex remains less disturbed. The breakdown of the polar vortex is an extreme event known as a Sudden stratospheric warming, here the vortex completely breaks down and an associated warming of 30-50 degrees Celsius over a few days can occur. The Arctic vortex is elongated in shape, with two centres, one roughly over Baffin Island in Canada and the other over northeast Siberia. In rare events, the vortex can push further south as a result of axis interruption, see January 1985 Arctic outbreak.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polar_vortex

  40. @ Cam_S says:
    April 6, 2011 at 10:52 am

    I like the way you linked back to a last comment . . . how did you do that?

  41. >>David Evans
    >>That’s because they’ve lumped BCF, (BromoChloroFluoromethane,) in with CFCs

    But let’s not try to eliminate all BCFs.

    BCFs are the only fire extinguishers powerful enough to put out a fire on an airliner, and if the Greens eliminate them (as they are trying to do) every flight will be more dangerous than ever before.

    .

  42. The end result of polar vortices seems to be understood when considering ozone destruction and the net affect on atmospheric teleconnections (AO/AAO). What is less understood is what drives the vortices and their origins. The planetary wave plus QBO in the north looks to be connected and follows seasonal patterns perhaps, but it’s a shame that more research money is not being spent here.

  43. Everybody interested in a historical appraisal of the ozone dynamics in the Arctic and Antarctic regions should read the papers mentioned below. Both papers, one from 1950 and the other from 1990, suggest that such extreme rarefactions of the stratospheric ozone concentrations (below 200 dobson units) that became later known as the “ozone hole” were quite common over Northern Norway even before the CFCs were invented (in 1929 by Thomas Midgley), or over Antarctica during the International Geophysical Year, when they still were not largely used . One of the authors, American meteorologist Randolph Penndorf, even introduces the term “holes” to explain such low ozone readings. For me they provide enough evidence that this is another natural phenomenon that has been used to boost the political and economic agenda that gave us the Montreal Protocol, as a trial balloon for the Kyoto Protocol and all the warmist political agenda.

    The mentioned papers are:

    - R. Penndorf, “The annual variation of the amount of ozone over northern Norway”, Annales de géophysique, tome 6, fasc. 1, 1950, pp. 4-9.
    - P. Rigaud and B. Leroy, “Presumptive evidence for a low value of the total ozone content above Antarctica in September, 1958”, Annales Geophysicae, 1990, 8(11), pp. 791-94.

  44. “In a changing climate, it is expected that on average stratospheric temperatures cool, which means more chemical ozone depletion will occur,” said Mark Weber from the University of Bremen.

    All changes in climate lead to stratospheric temperatures cooling, which mean more ozone depletion, and thus Global Warming can be blamed.
    Does that mean that in all years since 1997, not including 2010, that the stratosphere warmed, ozone increased and there was Global Cooling?
    Testing 1,2,3.

  45. Let me get this right – 1997 is listed as both an incredibly warm year (el nino AGW yada yada yada) and a very cold one. 2010 also shows this very warm / very cold pattern. Those with access to the temperature records may be able to tell me – is this normal? If so, is it cyclical?

    Thanks

  46. That pattern looks like a plume. I would suggest the possibility that all the cars wrecked by the japan tsunami have released a record quantity of refrigerant into the atmosphere, leading to ozone loss.

  47. Bowen says on April 6, 2011 at 11:34 am

    @ Cam_S says:
    April 6, 2011 at 10:52 am

    I like the way you linked back to a last comment . . . how did you do that?

    Well, if you look at the date under each comment you will see that it is a URL. Just copy it and then do something like <a href=”the-copied-URL”>The date and time</a> and you are done.

  48. What a coincidence…

    According to the following link, the huge Feb 14, ’11 solar flare glanced off the northern pole.

    http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700111303/Particles-from-powerful-solar-flare-hit-Earth.html

    I’ve read a number of scientific articles that say some of the sun’s particles can destroy ozone and that the magnetic poles channel these particles towards the south and/or north pole.

    But what am I thinking, we should trust those ozone scientists who worked on that issue:

    “I have seen this happen before, of course. We should have been warned by the CFC/ozone affair because the corruption of science in that was so bad that something like 80% of the measurements being made during that time were either faked, or incompetently done.”
    James Lovelock, one of the scientists who worked on the ozone issue.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2010/mar/29/james-lovelock/print

  49. beng says:
    April 6, 2011 at 7:11 am “yet high ozone levels are usually present along the “rim” of the polar vortices all winter when there is almost negligible UV exposure. How is it produced & how does it persist there? Transport from lower latitudes doesn’t make much sense as the ozone levels are higher at the rim than anywhere equatorward where the ozone would supposedly be produced.”

    Ozone results from the chance aggregation of oxygen atoms, split by short wave energy from the sun. This occurs in the mid to upper stratosphere. Gases migrate in all directions. As ozone descends it runs into water vapour.

    In the industrial production of ozone the air is cooled to minus 80°C so as to de-humidify it. Ozone is highly soluble in water. At the poles the air is drier than anywhere else so ozone is best conserved there and it persists in winter even though there is no radiation of any sort to split oxygen molecules. The winter pole is dark.

    To understand the variation in ozone in the winter stratosphere you must come to grips with the night jet that brings erosive compounds of nitrogen from the mesosphere. The activity of night jet varies directly with surface atmsopheric pressure. A good measure of polar pressure is the Arctic and the Antarctic Oscillation indexes.

    It is well known that the Arctic oscillation Index relates strongly to the direction of the wind in mid latitudes. Low AO brings cold polar air. High AO (low polar pressure) allows the westerlies to sweep north. The AO varies between high and low on a 30 year time scale.

    As ‘Just the facts’ suggests Arctic pressure is driven by change in the Antarctic where the coupling of the stratosphere with the troposphere is perennial rather than occasional, in winters where surface pressure is high, as is the case in the Arctic.

  50. Could this be a sign of a magnetic reversal? Does anyone know for sure what happens to ozone during these events?

    I could have swore I saw them address this issue on “Magnetic Storm” on PBS’s NOVA but it has been awhile since I watched that episode.

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