Ozone hole in Antarctica shrinks significantly, but not a record low as erroneously reported elsewhere

While this is good news any way you look at it,  I note there are a number of news reports saying that the “Ozone Hole Shrinks to Record Low” which are non thinking media regurgitations from a LiveScience article by Stepahnie Pappas. Pappas even shows how this isn’t true in her own story, see the yellow highlight below the image:

Ozone_hole_pappas

From the European Space Agency, I have the original press release, with no mention of a record low:

Is the Ozone Hole on the road to recovery?

Satellites show that the recent ozone hole over Antarctica was the smallest seen in the past decade. Long-term observations also reveal that Earth’s ozone has been strengthening following international agreements to protect this vital layer of the atmosphere.

According to the ozone sensor on Europe’s MetOp weather satellite, the hole over Antarctica in 2012 was the smallest in the last 10 years.

The instrument continues the long-term monitoring of atmospheric ozone started by its predecessors on the ERS-2 and Envisat satellites.

Since the beginning of the 1980s, an ozone hole has developed over Antarctica during the southern spring – September to November – resulting in a decrease in ozone concentration of up to 70%.

South Pole ozone

Ozone depletion is more extreme in Antarctica than at the North Pole because high wind speeds cause a fast-rotating vortex of cold air, leading to extremely low temperatures. Under these conditions, human-made chlorofluorocarbons – CFCs – have a stronger effect on the ozone, depleting it and creating the infamous hole.

Over the Arctic, the effect is far less pronounced because the northern hemisphere’s irregular landmasses and mountains normally prevent the build-up of strong circumpolar winds.

Reduced ozone over the southern hemisphere means that people living there are more exposed to cancer-causing ultraviolet radiation.

International agreements on protecting the ozone layer – particularly the Montreal Protocol – have stopped the increase of CFC concentrations, and a drastic fall has been observed since the mid-1990s.

However, the long lifetimes of CFCs in the atmosphere mean it may take until the middle of this century for the stratosphere’s chlorine content to go back to values like those of the 1960s.

The evolution of the ozone layer is affected by the interplay between atmospheric chemistry and dynamics like wind and temperature.

If weather and atmospheric conditions show unusual behaviour, it can result in extreme ozone conditions – such as the record low observed in spring 2011 in the Arctic – or last year’s unusually small Antarctic ozone hole.

Total ozone

To understand these complex processes better, scientists rely on a long time series of data derived from observations and on results from numerical simulations based on complex atmospheric models.

Although ozone has been observed over several decades with multiple instruments, combining the existing observations from many different sensors to produce consistent and homogeneous data suitable for scientific analysis is a difficult task.

Within the ESA Climate Change Initiative, harmonised ozone climate data records are generated to document the variability of ozone changes better at different scales in space and time.

With this information, scientists can better estimate the timing of the ozone layer recovery, and in particular the closure of the ozone hole.

Chemistry climate models show that the ozone layer may be building up, and the hole over Antarctica will close in the next decades.

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69 thoughts on “Ozone hole in Antarctica shrinks significantly, but not a record low as erroneously reported elsewhere

  1. Does anyone know for sure that there never was a hole in the ozone over Antarctica? Considering the nature of the magnetic field, it seems to me that it might very well be possible that there always has been a hole there. Has there ever been evidence that there really was a time when it didn’t exist?

  2. Color me sceptical, both for the “record” and the anthropogenic origin of the “hole”. Another simulation which gives the results desired, rather than the genuine causes. If Pinatubo can blow a hole in the ionosphere in the NH, what does the southern ring of fire do with it’s gases?

  3. “According to the ozone sensor on Europe’s MetOp weather satellite, the hole over Antarctica in 2012 was the smallest in the last 10 years.”

    You have to remember that eco-terrorists are also insane creaionists. 10 years is of course the life span of the earth just lie 180 or so years is for global warming. So yes smallest how ever…. EVER.

    We also know for sure that that hole is 100% human caused and only fixable by humans repenting for the sins of mankind.

  4. I still wonder if the Antarctica ozone depletion is caused by a tiny amount of chlorofluorocarbons which has been released mostly from countries in the northern hemisphere.
    Isn’t the ozone concentration variation a ca. 100-year cyclic phenomenon driven by some extraterrestrial factor(s) ?

  5. Seasonally-normalized annual & semiannual solar-terrestrial resonance persistence (measured from sunspot numbers via complex wavelet resonator):

  6. I’m not convinced there was anything unusual going on with the “ozone hole” in the first place. It was there the first time they looked. We already know there were mistakes made in the calculations concerning ozone depletion caused by CFCs that caused them to overestimate the damage by two orders of magnitude. It’s weather. If you get a strong polar jet that keeps the air sequestered, you get a lot of ozone depletion that winter. Get a weak solar jet and you get less ozone depletion.

  7. Oh Dear.

    Many are ‘rattling’ about how the “Montreal Protocol is ‘WORKING’” yet I disagree.

    Here is the set, ‘Lewis and Martin, circa 1950s, a Holding Jail Cell, Martin sitting in the back on a cot, and Lewis at the bars of the cell, shacking them and calling out, “What …. The hole is smaller …. The HOLE is smaller.”‘, while Martin completely ignores Jerry’s complaints and he enjoys his Martinis.

    So what do we make of these NASA announcements, near the time of the Southern sea ice area minimum, which is on track to be a maximum of the minimum for 30+ years, that the Arctic has lost such a stupendously Earth Shattering great volume of sea ice [?].

    NASA is ‘Lewis at the bars of the holding cell’ !

    :-)

  8. Funny but I didn’t see this fact talked about in those articles:

    According to Jim Butler, who works for the NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado, the warmer temperatures are the sole reason the ozone hole was so small in 2012.

    “It happened to be a bit warmer this year high in the atmosphere above Antarctica, and that meat we didn’t see quite as much ozone depletion as we saw last year, when it was colder,” he said.

    http://www.sciencerecorder.com/news/ozone-layer-hole-hits-near-record-low/

    So is warming in Antarctica a good thing or bad thing?

  9. How long has it been since any CFC’s were manufactured? And they even state that atmospheric levels of CFC’s have fallen drastically since the mid 90′s. does that sound to you like something that will take decades more to leave the atmosphere?

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m actually in favor of the CFC ban. There was evidence that it broke down stratospheric Ozone, and it was building up in the atmosphere, but that ‘hole’ is obviously not going away now any more then it did in 2002. next year or the year after it will be back to were it usually is.

  10. Ozone in the Earth’s stratosphere is created by ultraviolet light striking oxygen molecules, splitting them into individual oxygen atoms; the atomic oxygen then combines with unbroken oxygen to create ozone. The ozone molecule is also reactive and unstable. When the sun goes down ozone is no longer created. No sunshine in the Antarctic winter results in a natural drop in stratospheric ozone. There will always be an ozone hole over Antarctica in the spring. I learned this in college in the late ’70s.

  11. First off, CFC’s do not break down ozone, chlorine (supposedly from CFCs) does. But chlorine also has natural sources, and CFCs are heavy molecules that need a lot of turbulence to make it to the stratosphere, and a lot more to make it from the industrial north to the south pole.

    Secondly, any increase in UV due to the lack of ozone over the south pole has little effect on animals of any kind, much less humans. The lowest ozone levels during the hole season are comparable to the normal levels in the tropics, and the sunlight near the pole travels through 50% more atmosphere getting there.

  12. What the Montreal protocol did was replace one potent greenhouse gas CFC(s) with another potent greenhouse gas HCFC. While they are thought to have similar warming potential, HCFC has a shorter residence time in the atmosphere, and causes less GH warming in the longer term >5 years.

    In reality we know almost nothing empirical about these gases in the atmosphere (except measuring their concentration), and the Montreal Protocol could well have contributed to late 20th century warming in various ways including the junking of large numbers of old CFC cooled fridges. And probably did contribute to the 21st century temperature stasis. Although no one dare say this.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse_gas#Global_warming_potential

  13. Tom O says:
    February 13, 2013 at 7:13 pm
    Does anyone know for sure that there never was a hole in the ozone over Antarctica?
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    At the bottom of the second graphic it says

    Total Ozone Columns (DU)

    DU stands for “Dobson Units”. They are named after Gordon Dobson who came up with the method and apparatus to measure the ozone layer in the 1920′s. One of the things he predicted was that there would be an ozone “hole” decades before anyone went to Antarctic to see. Of course by then everyone forgot that it was supposed to be there in the first place and got very excited.

  14. I don’t believe there has ever been empirical evidence that Antarctic ozone correlates in any way with atmospheric CFC’s. Susan Solomon et al jumped to a conclusion years ago about cause/effect, twisted some data about natural variations in O3 levels to make it appear as a “human handprint”, and browbeat a bunch of gullible politicians into thinking that the Montreal Protocol would show that they cared and affect O3 levels.

    The Freon manufacturers didn’t really object because their patent was about to expire, and they’d already come up with a cost-comparable alternative (under patent).

    So the UN got to feel that they had “changed the world” by international convention.

    The arrogant bas*ards still think they can control the world.

    BTW, if anyone has contrary evidence about O3 and CFC’s, I’d be glad to evaluate it

  15. I’m with scarletmacaw…. I thiught they decided years ago, though well after patents expired, that CFCs aren’t wot dunnit?

    Mark

  16. GeologyJim: Bingo!

    I was in the restaurant equipment business at the time and and the refrigeration department had quite a bit of disucssion about the pending expiry of Du Pont’s freon patents. And, yeah, they had new patented substitutes already on line, so not to worry. And the greenie dorks played right into their hands; in fact did their work for them, and for nothing. In my moral universe, this is called racketeering.

    And one topic of discussion then was, since there is comparatively little atmospheric interchange between the N and S hemispheres, howizzit all the CFCs are ending up in Antarctica?

    A classic example of our corporate betters working the useful idiots to their advantage.

    Now, take global warmunism…

  17. Could it be a correlation to the sun’s Polar field reversal?

    Solar Cycle 23′s reversal was in 2002. Could be coincidence.

    Maybe in five or ten more solar cycles we’ll have a better idea of what really impacts the ozone hole…

  18. Michael P says:
    February 13, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    When the sun goes down ozone is no longer created. No sunshine in the Antarctic winter results in a natural drop in stratospheric ozone.

    While that is basically correct, that is not the reason for the “hole”. The ozone level remains fairly constant during the long night of winter. It does not really go away until spring because UV is what destroys the ozone. Also, it has to be very cold, much colder than the -70C or so of the typical tropopause. When it is extremely cold, ice crystal form. Chlorine on these ice crystals catalyze the destruction of ozone and because of the low angle of the Sun, the rate of destruction is greater than the rate of creation. When the atmosphere warms, the ice sublimes and the rate of destruction decreases. As the Sun raises higher over the horizon, it produces more ozone and the size of the hole decreases.

    When the hole is at its largest, Sunlight passes thru about 600 miles of sea level equivalent atmosphere and has lost most of the energy needed to create ozone. Ozone peaks when the path is less than one mile equivalent. (The pressure is low so that 50 miles of summer atmosphere is equivalent to only a few hundred feet at sea level.) Notice that they always report Dobson units and not sea level exposure. The first measures the amount of ozone and the second how important the first number is.

  19. Wait .. when it was larger a couple of years ago.. it was China’s fault.. and now that it’s smaller its because of the excellent climate blah blah.. I wonder if our Magnetosphere shrinking and expanding could have anything to do with it. Point though, when they banned the lower numbered refrigerants, they caused the units to need more power to be as effective… now the most recent “upgrade” will cause the units to need way more power to run as effectively. So that new energy saver you get, wont be as effective as the old one energy wise.. isnt that a kick in the pants?

  20. What an embarrassment. The ozone hole is a natural phenomenon that has always been present as a result of the solar winds increasing the rate of photodissociation at the magnetic poles (where there happens to be very little in the way of vertical convection to lift CFCs to any significant altitude..they’re 6X heavier than the net weight of an avg N2 molecule. We have never detected CFCs anywhere in the stratosphere, let alone at the poles. Are we to believe that CFCs emitted in the NH were somehow convectively transported solely to the south pole, despite the Hadley Cell flow suggesting this cannot happen? Why no effect in the equatorial stratosphere, which is more subject to convection?

  21. Despite all the information you may have read, there is not one shred of supportable evidence that CFCs have found their way 40 miles up above the Earth. No one has ever found any up there because they are roughly five times heavier than air. They are like a brick in a swimming pool. It is not often that you will see a brick floating to the surface of your pool. CFCs are so dense that even as a gas you could fill a bucket with it and pour the contents of one bucket into another. Secondly there is no evidence that they can destroy anything because they are very stable and unreactive substances. Most dictionaries and chemistry books describe them as inert gases.

    Faced with this rather unfortunate logic, some researchers extend the plot, claiming that in the upper atmosphere the intense UV light is sufficient to break down the CFCs, releasing chlorine which then does the damage. If that actually could happen though, then the “ozone layer” would just get replaced by the CFC layer, which would then further “protect” us from UV radiation.

    There is, too, another difficulty with the theory: the fact that all the CFCs in the world are insufficient to even dent the known amount of ozone. The factor is 1 in 100,000. So we get told of yet another scenario — that in some imagined chain reaction, chlorine would keep on getting released by the UV until all the ozone was destroyed. But even if we supposed that this could happen, then all of these reactions going on would only further absorb UV, protecting us even more. We would right now be dying from lack of UV light and vitamin “D” deficiency.

    There is no evidence that such a chain reaction would occur. Also, it is a long jump and unscientific to say that if a reaction could occur, then it would. Furthermore, there are some 192 known chemical reactions and 48 photochemical reactions occurring in the stratosphere(the ozone area) all the time. How would it be that chlorine and ozone, which are only in minute quantities anyway, should be able to carry on this reaction to the exclusion of the other 241 known reactive processes?

    And who says that the “holes” are getting bigger? In 1988 NASA’s Nimbus satellite appeared to show that the southern hole was increasing. Here was supposed proof that man was aggravating the situation. The fact that the following year’s results showed the hole smaller than ever previously recorded went totally unannounced, except in obscure journals. Neither was it reported that the variation in depletion-area size seemed to correspond with increases in sunspot activity, which throws out more UV radiation.

    http://www.ourcivilisation.com/ozone/king.htm

  22. @ tokyoboy, Steve, and others…

    On CFC’s and the ozone “hole”:
    Why is there a “hole” in the ozone layer over the south pole? Because it’s really, really cold there.

    First of all, it’s not a hole, it’s just an area where the ozone layer is thinnest. Okay, so why is the ozone layer not as thick there? First let’s understand ozone in the atmosphere.

    High energy radiation from the sun in the form of UV rays hits the atmosphere. Some of these rays happen to strike O2 molecules. The energy can break them apart. Still more UV can then hit these broken up oxygens and form them into O3 – ozone. Then, some more UV rays hit that ozone and (surprise) break it up and can form it back into O2. And so on. So having oxygen in the upper atmosphere “blocks” a lot of UV rays from hitting the earth’s surface by constantly going through this cycle. Protecting life on earth, yadda yadda. So there is a layer of ozone all over earth in the upper atmosphere, around the stratosphere. The thickness of this layer varies.

    One of the ways the thickness varies is that there is a large area around the South Pole where it is the thinnest anywhere. Remember that it is generally much colder around the South than the North Pole (land mass versus water, etc.). So a special type of cloud forms, PSC, or polar stratospheric cloud. It just so happens that some chemicals that float around in the air can help break up O3 molecules. With air circulation around the pole and these special clouds, these chemicals can collect in higher concentrations than normal. So the ozone “layer” appears to have a “hole” down there.

    However, as some have mentioned, this thinness was predicted before it was observed, and a half century of observation has never delivered evidence that human-released CFC’s or other chemicals directly contribute to this “hole” by making their way south and collecting there, like some kind of awesome anti-ozone chemical club where they just hang out and wreck O3 all day long.

    In fact, the “hole” has very likely always been there, at least as long as there has been a land mass at the pole. But, by the time people might have accepted that, CFC’s had been also labeled a dangerous “greenhouse gas”.

    I hope you enjoyed my kindergarten level explanation. It doesn’t really tell the whole story but you get the important points.

  23. Of course, if you make a computer model and input that CFC’s create the ozone hole, and then project that CFC’s go away, and the hole closes up, well….

    That’s like asking the computer to solve 2+x=4, when you’ve already told the computer that x=2…

  24. Ozone reduced and the stratosphere cooled when the sun was more active.

    Ozone increasing and the stratosphere warming when the sun became more active.

    Looks like they have the sign of the solar effect wrong.

    It appears likely that something about atmospheric chemistry actually causes net destruction of ozone when the sun is active and net creation when the sun is less active.

    There is some evidence to support that proposition.

    The jets shift equatorward when the stratosphere warms and that happened in the Little Ice Age / Maunder Minimum and in the last 10 years.

    The jets shift poleward when the stratosphere cools and that happened both in the MWP and the recent warm period.

  25. Why does ozone manifest itself to create ‘holes’ over the Poles and not mix with other gases over the whole area? And do we know for certain that a bigger hole means less ozone as opposed to the gas being differently distributed around the globe due to differing atmospheric conditions? And finally, do we have concrete proof that the actions of we humans has any effect whatsoever on the ozone content of the atmosphere and the size of the holes?

  26. The ozone ‘hole’ is a completely natural occurrence and only became a ‘problem’ when it was discovered. It varies in size due to natural oscillations – some of them multi-decadal in length – and no conclusions can be drawn from the measurements of just a few years.

    To claim that mankind can in any way influence the stratosphere by what it does on the other side of the earth is pure speculation made by ‘scientists’ on the funding gravy train.

    The reason for banning the harmless CFCs was non other than an attempt by governments to extend their control over our lives – proof being that the UN was behind it all.

    And think of all the money being made by those who have to control and monitor the production and movement of these chemicals.

    CFC’s: I call them Life

  27. Pity they did not show any data before 1960. I have some data from the swiss alps that goes back to 1927. Looking at these data, you can see ozone also going up from 1927 – 1950. From then onwards there is a clear bending point near 1950 where we see ozone balancing and starting to curve down. It then keeps going down, until, as can be seen from the graph above, 1995. From 1995 it starts moving up again.
    My research suggests a natural process taking place, with the CFC influence probably having been a red herring, or a very small influence:

    http://blogs.24.com/henryp/2012/10/02/best-sine-wave-fit-for-the-drop-in-global-maximum-temperatures/

    looking at maximum temperatures, (energy-in) we see 1995 as a significant date, when we changed signed from warming to cooling.

  28. Reduced ozone over the southern hemisphere means that people living there are more exposed to cancer-causing ultraviolet radiation.

    This is in your face alarmism – pun intended.

    As the first graphic shows very well, outside the depleted area over the Antarctic continent there is a ring of enhanced ozone readings. The largest ozone hole measured since records began in 1979 was in 2006: it never went much outside 60°S. The only people affected by the ‘cancer-causing ultraviolet radiation’ are those who live and work on the Antarctic continent. I don’t imagine that they will be on their beach towels in early spring in the Antarctic. Those who may be at the beach in early spring in the Southern Hemisphere (big place compared to the area affected by the ‘ozone hole’) will be experiencing the extra protection from UV provided by the red and yellow ring in the graphic above.

    You can add the European Space Agency to the list of organisations that flat out lies for money.

    They should be utterly ashamed of their unscientific pronouncements.

  29. A couple of problems with the ozone hole:
    1 Who lives under the ozone hole to be effected by the UV radiation.
    2. What do they wear.
    3. How did they measure it prior to the 1980′s with no Satellites
    4.The ozone hole always occurs at the end of the SH Winter considering
    the extreme South latitudes involved how much UV or any radiation for that matter
    could there be.

  30. At both poles, ozone decreases from 1970 to 2000, then increases.
    Global temperature increased from 1970 to 2001, then decreased (ignoring the 1998 El Nino).
    Looks like they share a driver.

  31. Tinypic is malfunctioning severely. For example check out the mess it’s (very unfortunately) making of Bob Tisdale’s links: link redirects, excessively lengthy delays loading simple images meaning people simply aren’t going to bother, file types changed, link addresses modified by appending characters, etc. So it’s time to switch allegiances to another free image host to see how that goes comparatively. What follows here replaces the link I gave above.

    Track Switch

    Seasonally-normalized annual & semiannual solar-terrestrial resonance persistence (measured from sunspot numbers via complex wavelet resonator):

  32. As long as there’s a Southern Polar Vortex;

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/10/29/new-wuwt-polar-vortex-reference-page/

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/reference-pages/climatic-phenomena-pages/polar-vortex/

    it seems likely that there will be an ozone “hole”, as well as a bunch of other “holes”, i.e.:

    Within the Polar Vortex, “Air from very high altitudes descends vertically through the center of the vortex, moving air to lower altitudes over several months.” NASA

    “The walls of the polar vortex act as the boundaries for the extraordinary changes in chemical concentrations. Now the polar vortex can be considered a sealed chemical reactor bowl, containing a water vapor hole, a nitrogen oxide hole and an ozone hole, all occurring simultaneously (Labitzke and Kunze 2005)” Stratosphere troposphere interactions: an introduction

    There are also “measurements of low methane concentrations in the vortex made by the HALOE instrument on board the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite.” Rapid descent of mesospheric air into the stratospheric polar vortex, AGU 1993

    All indications are that the ozone “hole”, as well as the water vapor “hole”, a nitrogen oxide “hole” and methane “hole” over Antarctica are naturally occurring and associated with Polar Vorticity.

  33. “All indications are that the ozone “hole”, as well as the water vapor “hole”, a nitrogen oxide “hole” and methane “hole” over Antarctica are naturally occurring and associated with Polar Vorticity.”

    The size and shape of the polar vortices appears to be affected by the mix of wavelengths and particles from the sun.

    When the sun is active the vortices extend higher in the expanded atmosphere but contract horizontally at the surface so that the polar air masses withdraw towards the poles.

    When the sun is inactive the vortices extend less high due to the contracted atmosphere but spread out more at the surface pushing the jets equatorward so that polar air masses surge more often across middle latitudes.

    Those changes then affect global cloudiness and albedo to alter the amount of energy entering the oceans to fuel the climate system.

  34. Pretty sure the majority of us agree that the Ozone Hole scare was, well, just a scare. We have absolutely no way of knowing what the ozone levels actually were prior to looking, and when we started looking the first thing we found was a “hole”. 20+ years of dramatically decreased CFCs appear to have made very little, if any, change in the “hole”.

    Personally I see the Ozone scare as a lead-up to the Global Warming scare. They came out with an audaciously implausible mechanism for planetary peril, and made an outrageous solution, and… WOW… everyone bought into it. We all had to pay more for air conditioners and fridges, had to retrofit or scrap existing R12 based auto A/C units (or drive around with pressurized propane in our cars, ready to spray all over the scene in any significant collision), and I personally knew a plumber who did jail time for selling a painfully small quantity of R12 on the black market.

    The level of ozone over the Antarctic is about as immaterial to this planet as anything, and yet careers have been made, fortunes transferred, self-righteous eco-loons gained credibility and fame. It’s a travesty. It’s ridiculous. I’m ashamed and embarrassed that I used to believe it. In fact, in the late 80s I was even spouting the precautionary principle, because, well, everyone did. If only we’d had the internet then, where all knowledge wasn’t filtered through newspapers, magazines, and TV stations.

    I will never, EVER lose one precious second of sleep or generate one iota of internal stress worrying about CFCs or the Ozone Layer. It’s demonstrating natural variability. We should be studying it for pure Science, not deluding ourselves into thinking we’re somehow in control.

  35. As the claimed chemistry that consumes ozone based on CFCs was falsified by Dupont-paid researchers, as revealed 20 years later (“We bad,” they said), any international agreements are a joke. The ozone hole responds to solar input and the amount depends on reactions involving ozone, nitrogen gas, the temperature, and incoming radiation, mostly UV.

    They should disabuse themselves that they accomplished anything by banning CFCs other than enriching Dupont, as they had the patent already (imagine that!) on a replacement refrigerant, and also starving and killing people in poor countries, as they could no longer afford to refrigerate their food properly. The replacement refrigerant was much more expensive. In the mind of the greenies, dying of starvation or food poisoning is perfectly natural and desirable.

  36. Just The Facts says:
    February 14, 2013 at 4:39 am ”

    “All indications are that the ozone “hole”, as well as the water vapor “hole”, a nitrogen oxide “hole” and methane “hole” over Antarctica are naturally occurring and associated with Polar Vorticity.”

    But why should the ozone minimum (see graph in article) come around the time of sunspot max, when ozone generation is also max? The answer is just what you said, “Polar Vorticity.” The ozone hole is a hole because ozone never gets there; its an ozone desert. Ozone autodecomposes in the descending air in the “eyewall” around the ozone hole as it sees increasing atmospheric pressure and higher autodecomposition rates, regardless of catalysts present or not present. The increased vorticity better isolates the ozone hole so that the radius shrinks and concentrations inside decrease to vanishing. Ozone concentrations inside the hole are about atmospheric dynamics, not about CFC’s.

  37. There’s nothing more visually “impressive”, but of less practical importance than the “ozone hole”.

    Oh, wait, there is one. Arctic summer sea ice…

  38. This drives me nuts — Ozone is an unstable substance. Just look at a table showing the half life of ozone at varous temperatures. There’s the reason for your ”ozone hole’ which starts forming when the sun goes down and continues until the sun comes up 3 months later. What could be clearer? Why all the complications?

  39. Tom O says:
    February 13, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    Does anyone know for sure that there never was a hole in the ozone over Antarctica?……

    A good question indeed. Joseph D’Aleo of Weatherbell.com wrote a piece in 2011, posted on WUWT. Here is his final paragraph:

    Ozone holes in Antarctic and Arctic relate to cold rebounds from warming events
    …………………
    “Remember we first found the ozone hole when satellites that measure ozone were first available and processed (1985). It is very likely to have been there forever, varying year to year and decade to decade as solar cycles and volcanic events affected high latitude winter vortex strength.”

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/10/20/daleo-on-ozone-hole-it-is-very-likely-to-have-been-there-forever/

    http://icecap.us/images/uploads/Ozone_holes.pdf

    Rogelio Maduro, Ralf Schauerhammer
    The evidence includes how ozone scientist Gordon Dobson discovered the Antarctic ozone hole in 1956, before CFCs were widely used, & showed that it was a natural annual phenomenon; how natural sources of chlorine far outweigh man-made CFCs;

    http://books.google.gm/books/about/The_holes_in_the_ozone_scare.html?id=VbsRAQAAIAAJ&redir_esc=y

  40. Did they not blame, at least in part, this last season’s “record” high Antarctic sea ice on a “record” Southern Hemisphere ozone hole? And now this is apparently not the case? Man these warmers are pathetic….

  41. Some good comments here! JB Sellers is right.
    Village idiot is not an idiot!
    Codetech knows what he is talking about.
    I was caught in the same “ozone friendly” train. Amazing,to find out 25 years later that it is was all just a scam/false alarm……
    It seems even Stephen Wilde now agrees with me? on my findings that we are just on a natural sine wave and we have to sit out the coming cold until 2038 or 2039…..

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/02/13/ozone-hole-in-antarctica-shrinks-significantly-but-not-a-record-low-as-erroneously-reported-elsewhere/#comment-1224643

  42. If the ozone hole is a natural phenomenon that opens and closes as it wishes, this is neither a good thing nor a bad thing, but just a thing.

    The history of the ozone hole before studying it is unknown. Since it was “discovered”, I’ve been unable to find a “problem” except through IPCC similar modeling (remember the blind sheep of Argentina?).

  43. Mind you, I should point out something to those interested

    NOTE the difference in ozone measured in the NH and the SH

    it is quite significant?

    Indeed, yes it is.

    When I saw that for the first time, It puzzled me. The funny part is that I figured out where most of the warming of earth comes from: water has absorbency in the UV region, meaning that all radiation coming in at UV range is converted to warmth/ heat in the water.

    Now, remember that for life to thrive, you need warmth – at least within a certain range –

    and ?

    most of the water of earth is in the SH…….

    Are you with me? It is amazing.

    God bless you if get this hint.

  44. “Reduced ozone over the southern hemisphere means that people living there are more exposed to cancer-causing ultraviolet radiation.”

    I always get a kick out of that claim, for several reasons.

    How many people are living under the ozone hole? Because it occurs over Antarctica, I would suggest not many people live there. Maybe some scientists studying Antarctica and Tierra del Fuegans are under the edges of it.

    To how much more ultraviolet radiation are they exposed? Because it occurs over Antarctica, I would suggest that most people are fairly well clothed (due to the cold) and low sun angle would also tend to reduce the amount of total ultraviolet radiation. Being covered in clothes would negate exposure to ultravilet radiation. Maybe a beach in Rio at the height of summer might be a better place to worry about people being exposed to cancer-causing ultraviolet radiation.

  45. In case there is some confusion:

    people living in the SH must take much more precaution to not expose their bodies to sunlight

    please

    just always sit on the shade, as I do,

    please

  46. Waste Recycling News carries an article suggesting classifying certain plastics as hazardous waste, following the example of the Montreal Protocol with CFCs:

    http://www.wasterecyclingnews.com/article/20130214/NEWS02/130219960/classify-plastics-as-hazardous-waste-scientists-urge

    [begin quote]
    Classify plastics as hazardous waste, scientists urge
    February 14, 2013
    By WRN Staff

    A group of scientists believe they have a way to keep plastics from ending up in oceans or being littered across the countryside: classify plastics as hazardous waste.

    “We believe that if countries classified the most harmful plastics as hazardous, their environmental agencies would have the power to restore affected habitats and prevent more dangerous debris from accumulating,” a group of 10 scientists wrote in an article posted Feb. 13 on the journal Nature’s website.

    As a template, the scientists are using the 1989 Montreal Protocol, which classified chlorofluorocarbons as hazardous and which has proven to be one of the most successful environmental initiatives in history.

    One of the researchers, Chelsea Marina Rochman, told the Los Angeles Times that similar accomplishments can be achieved if four difficult-to-recycle plastics — polyvinylchloride (PVC), polystyrene, polyurethane and polycarbonate – are targeted.

    According to the Nature article, less than half of the 280 million tons of plastic produced globally in 2012 ended up recycled or in a landfill. The scientists suggest that a substantial amount of the remaining 150 million tons of plastic ended up as litter. Without action, the global environment will have to deal with 33 billion tons of plastic by 2050.

    “This could be reduced to just 4 billion tons if the most problematic plastics are classified as hazardous immediately and replaced with safer, reusable materials in the next decade,” the scientists wrote. “We feel that the physical dangers of plastic debris are well enough established, and the suggestions of chemical dangers sufficiently worrying, that the biggest producers of plastic waste – the United States, Europe and China – must act now.”

    Plastics & Rubber Weekly, a sister publication to Waste & Recycling News, contributed to this report.
    [end quote]

  47. tokyoboy says:
    February 13, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    I still wonder if the Antarctica ozone depletion is caused by a tiny amount of chlorofluorocarbons which has been released mostly from countries in the northern hemisphere….
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Do not forget the active volcanoes belching chlorine. Mount Erebus for one is active and A string of a dozen volcanoes, at least several of them active, has been found beneath the frigid seas near Antarctica,

    In the Arctic New evidence deep beneath the Arctic ice suggests a series of underwater volcanoes have erupted in violent explosions in the past decade.

    Science News Bleach in the Icelandic Volcanic Cloud
    Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz found that the ash plume contained not only the common volcanic gas sulfur dioxide, but also free chlorine radicals. Chlorine radicals are extremely reactive and even small amounts can have a profound impact on local atmospheric chemistry. The findings, which will be published in “Geophysical Research Letters” give solid evidence of volcanic plume chlorine radical chemistry and allowed calculations of chlorine radical concentrations.

    It has been known for some time that volcanic eruptions emit chlorine-containing gases, causing scientists to suspect that highly reactive chlorine radicals could also be present. However, sufficient experimental evidence proved elusive. That changed when researchers analyzed air collected in the ash cloud emitted by the Eyjafjallajökull volcano. During three special flights conducted by Lufthansa in spring 2010 using the CARIBIC atmospheric measurement container, researchers collected air samples which they brought back to their laboratory in Mainz for analysis…..

  48. I gather from this but unsaid, is that the massive Antarctic volcano emitting hundreds of thousands of tons of Ozone destroyers, has ceased erupting after 20 or 30 years. I recall reading that after the foo farah and the Montreal Protocol was adopted, someone went back to look at data collected in 1957 for the “International Gleophysical Year” and lo and behold, the Ozone hole was there back then too, just not interpreted.

  49. philr1992 says:
    February 14, 2013 at 12:44 am
    Despite all the information you may have read, there is not one shred of supportable evidence that CFCs have found their way 40 miles up above the Earth. No one has ever found any up there because they are roughly five times heavier than air.

    On the contrary CFCs are measured in the stratosphere, their concentration is constant up to about 15km above which it decays away due to the influence of UV

    The rest of the post is a similar fabrication.

  50. OssQss says:
    February 14, 2013 at 9:16 am
    What ever happened with this item? It seems to have vanished……..

    http://www.nature.com/news/2007/070924/full/449382a.html

    ### ### ###

    As history told us pope often were wrong in their judgment.
    Pope et al (Pope, F. D., Hansen, J. C., Bayes, K. D., Friedl, R. R. & Sander, S. P. J. Phys. Chem. A 111, 4322–4332 ) were proofed to be wrong as well.

    And a short remark on Dobosn discovery of the ozone hole:
    The values Dobson measured in 1956 in Antarctica were twice as high as the values considere to be a “hole” today. There for I call santences spread by Joe D’Aleo like this
    “Rogelio Maduro, Ralf Schauerhammer
    The evidence includes how ozone scientist Gordon Dobson discovered the Antarctic ozone hole in 1956, before CFCs were widely used, & showed that it was a natural annual phenomenon; how natural sources of chlorine far outweigh man-made CFCs;”

    as an urban myth or better: This is horsefeathers, Joe

  51. stas peterson says:
    February 14, 2013 at 12:30 pm
    I gather from this but unsaid, is that the massive Antarctic volcano emitting hundreds of thousands of tons of Ozone destroyers, has ceased erupting after 20 or 30 years. I recall reading that after the foo farah and the Montreal Protocol was adopted, someone went back to look at data collected in 1957 for the “International Gleophysical Year” and lo and behold, the Ozone hole was there back then too, just not interpreted.

    Hardly since the BAS data showed 300 DU back then as opposed to the more recent 100-150 DU.

  52. Billy Liar notes the increased ozone around the ozone “hole”. Is this possibly a sign that we have a mechanical process pushing ozone out of the center and into the periphery via circum-antarctic winds? The whole argument I have heard so far does not seem to give a reason for the increases on the periphery.

  53. Phil says,

    “Hardly since the BAS data showed 300 DU back then as opposed to the more recent 100-150 DU.”

    This is true only if you agree with the decision to ignore other data as below. I found this on the NUEP Ozone Secretariat website.

    “In 1958, measurements of total ozone were made at the Dumont d’Urville station (66.7°S, 140°E) in Antarctica using a photographic plate method to analyze solar ultraviolet radiation after it passed through the ozone layer. The reported measurements were anomalously low, reaching 110–120 DU in September and October. These values are similar to minimum ozone
    hole values now routinely observed over Antarctica in the same months (see Figure Q11-2). Some have speculated that
    these limited observations provide evidence that an ozone hole existed before ODS emissions were large enough to cause
    the depletion. However, analyses of the more extensive Dobson spectrophotometer measurements made at several other
    Antarctic locations in 1958 did not confirm the low total ozone values. These measurements indicate that the photographic
    plate determinations were not a reliable source of total ozone values at the Dumont d’Urville station in 1958.”

  54. Neil Jordan says: @ February 14, 2013 at 9:39 am

    Waste Recycling News carries an article suggesting classifying certain plastics as hazardous waste, following the example of the Montreal Protocol with CFCs….

    One of the researchers, Chelsea Marina Rochman, told the Los Angeles Times that similar accomplishments can be achieved if four difficult-to-recycle plastics — polyvinylchloride (PVC), polystyrene, polyurethane and polycarbonate – are targeted.

    Which goes to show these researchers don’t know what the heck they are talking about.

    If the WWF/activist/media connection had not interfered there would be a plant in Leominster MA for recycling waste polystyrene from McDonalds. The project was co-funded by McDonalds, Sweetheart Plastics and Novacor/Polysar. The plant was already designed and about to break ground. The TV commercials announcing the joint venture were to be air in less than a month. Then some twit in NH starting screaming about the evils of polystyrene getting most of her factoids incorrect and her “Activism” immediately spread nationwide. McDonalds dropped the idea like a lead balloon and that was the end of the polystyrene post consumer waste recycling plant. The plant had even been specially designed to use handicapped workers.

    Anyone here at WUWT knows the media doesn’t just spread a “grassroots” story nation wide without some heavy hitters behind it.

    I did a bit of digging to find out what actually happened. Seems Canadian Nationalist Robert Blair managed to really tick-off some of the entrenched elite. Blair was the President and Chief Executive Officer of NOVA Corporation who came up through the ranks BTW.

    In 1978, Bob Blair acquired a controlling share in Husky Oil. Petro-Canada and Occidental Petroleum Corp fought over Husky Oil but Nova snuck in and won in 1979 by quietly buying shares over time using a US stock exchange. (Maurice Strong, who earlier had helped establish Dome Petroleum, served as Petro-Canada’s first chairman)

    The Blair went on to get control of Polysar in a hostile takeover. (Polysar was a Crown Corporation BTW)

    Interestingly, right after Nova’s takeover of Polysar world prices for nearly every commodity Nova produced fell. Polyethylene, styrene and methanol dropped to 40% of the previous value.
    Bayer then bought out Polysar rubber from Novacor. Bayer had been “eyeing Polysar for years.”

    If I recall correctly Blair also tangled with Shell Oil over another acquisition but I no longer have the details.

  55. CodeTech says: February 14, 2013 at 5:15 am

    Pretty sure the majority of us agree that the Ozone Hole scare was, well, just a scare.

    Yep, a strong sense of Déjà vu…

    Time – Feb 17, 1992

    “What does it mean to redefine one’s relationship to the sky? What will it do to our children’s outlook on life we have to teach them to be afraid to look up?

    –Senator Al Gore, Earth in the Balance

    The world now knows that danger is shining through the sky. The evidence is overwhelming that the earth’s stratospheric ozone layer–our shield against the sun’s hazardous ultraviolet rays–is being eaten away by man-made chemicals far faster than any scientist had predicted. No longer is the threat just to our future; the threat is here and now. Ground zero is not just the South Pole anymore; ozone holes could soon open over heavily populated regions in the northern hemisphere as well as the southern. This unprecedented assault on the planet’s life-support system could have horrendous long-term effects on human health, animal life, the plants that support the food chain and just about every other strand that makes up the delicate web of nature. And it is too late to prevent the damage, which will worsen for years to come. The best the world can hope for is to stabilize ozone loss soon after the turn of the century.

    If any doubters remain, their ranks dwindled last week. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, along with scientists from several institutions, announced startling findings from atmospheric studies done by a modified spy-plane and an orbiting satellite. As the two craft crossed the northern skies last month, they discovered record-high concentrations of chlorine monoxide (CIO), a chemical by-product of the chlorofluoro-carbons (CFCs) known to be the chief agents of ozone destruction.

    Although the results were preliminary, they were so disturbing that NASA went public a month earlier than planned, well before the investigation could be completed. Previous studies had already shown that ozone levels have declined 4% to 8% over the northern hemisphere in the past decade. But the latest data imply that the ozone layer over some regions, including the northernmost parts of the U.S., Canada, Europe and Russia, could be temporarily depleted in the late winter and early spring by as much as 40%. That would be almost as bad as the 50% ozone loss recorded over Antarctica. If a huge northern ozone hole does not in fact open up in 1992, it could easily do so a year or two later. Says Michael Kurylo, NASA’s manager of upper-atmosphere research: “Everybody should be alarmed about this. It’s far worse than we thought.” http://faculty.washington.edu/djaffe/GEI/w3a.pdf

  56. Dire Wolf says: February 14, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    Billy Liar notes the increased ozone around the ozone “hole”. Is this possibly a sign that we have a mechanical process pushing ozone out of the center and into the periphery via circum-antarctic winds? The whole argument I have heard so far does not seem to give a reason for the increases on the periphery.

    Yep, the ozone surplus that exists outside of the ozone “hole”;

    is likely a dynamical effect of the stratospheric polar vortex, i.e. “The ozone hole is in the center of a spiraling mass of air over the Antarctic that is called the polar vortex. The vortex is not stationary and sometimes moves as far north as the southern half of South America, taking the ozone hole with it.”

    http://www.nasa.gov/centers/langley/news/factsheets/HALOE-Ozone.html

    This article and associated graphics help to demonstrate the dynamical effect of the polar vortex on Venus’s south pole:

    http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/09/venus-polar-vortex/

  57. This ozone hole business bothers me a bit.
    If it is over the Antarctic how does it affect the amount of Uv light in Australia?
    Surely, light from the sun falling on Australia comes through the atmosphere somewhere much further north than the Antarctic circle.
    Or have I overlooked something?

  58. There was a report about the ozone thinning over the northern hemisphere that the BBC offered in Feb. 2011. The scientists said there was a worrying depletion of ozone over the northern hemisphere but not to worry as it was thickening up again.

    They offered two explanations: residual CFCs, and knowing this was no good they also offered that it might have had something to do with the exceptionally cold December (2010) which affected the whole northern hemisphere. This told me the effect was short-lived and could have a natural explanation.

  59. Thick Mick says
    Surely, light from the sun falling on Australia comes through the atmosphere somewhere much further north than the Antarctic circle.
    Or have I overlooked something?

    Henry@Mick

    Just look at the graphs at the beginning of this post. Do you see that ozone is much thinner in the SH than he NH? The thinning in the NH from 1950-1995 was only about 10% but in the SH the thinning was much more spectacular, more like 50-100% plus, and then you have the hole in the antarctic where there was nothing.
    These are natural processes that strongly shape the average temp.on earth. Less ozone (& others like NOx an HxOx) ) means more UV in the oceans. Water has absorbency in the UV region, meaning the UV converts to heat, immediately. So NH is benefiting from SH heat whilst also enjoying more protection for their skins.
    It is amazing how this earth was put together. Each place on earth has is on its own sine wave of temp. change with wavelength of ca. 88 years, but height of temp. change being dependent on the ozone & others above.

    http://blogs.24.com/henryp/2012/10/02/best-sine-wave-fit-for-the-drop-in-global-maximum-temperatures/

    Anyway, either way, the alert (WARNING) therefore remains out for people living in the SH to not go in the sun unprotected. Please do remember.

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