Arctic cold yields "unprecedented Arctic ozone loss"

What was different about this year was that the temperatures were low enough to generate ozone-depleting forms of chlorine for a much longer period of time.” And it is worth noting that the “unprecedented” only applies to the short satellite record. There were no measurements of any kind prior to about 1979.

From the University of Toronto  and NASA JPL

North polar region views showing levels of ozone and chlorine monoxide

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. Red colors represent high levels of ozone, while purple and grey colors (over the north polar region) represent very small ozone amounts. Right: chlorine monoxide – the primary agent of chemical ozone destruction in the cold polar lower stratosphere – for the same day and altitude. Light blue and green colors represent small amounts of chlorine monoxide, while dark blue and black colors represent very large chlorine monoxide amounts. The white line marks the area within which the chemical ozone destruction took place. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Unprecedented Arctic ozone loss occurred last winter

U of Toronto physicists play key role in international study

A NASA-led study has documented an unprecedented depletion of the Earth’s protective ozone layer above the Arctic last winter and spring that was caused by an unusually prolonged period of extremely low temperatures in the stratosphere. University of Toronto physicist Kaley Walker was part of the international team behind the study to be published online Sunday, October 2 in Nature.

The researchers found 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 15 to 35 kilometres above the surface, protects life on Earth from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays.

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.

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. While the same ozone-loss processes occur each winter in the Arctic, the generally warmer stratospheric conditions there limit the area affected and the time frame during which the chemical reactions occur. This means there is generally far less ozone loss in most years in the Arctic than in the Antarctic.

To investigate the 2011 Arctic ozone loss, Walker and scientists from 18 other institutions in nine countries (United States, Germany, The Netherlands, 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; meteorological data and atmospheric models. The University of Toronto team contributed to the balloon-borne data with measurements from Eureka, Nunavut, located at 80 ºN (1,100 km from the North Pole). The team was participating in a Canadian Space Agency-funded project making springtime measurements to verify the performance of a Canadian satellite called the Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment (ACE).

“In the 2010-11 Arctic winter, we did not have temperatures that were lower than in the previous cold Arctic winters,” said Walker. “What was different about this year was that the temperatures were low enough to generate ozone-depleting forms of chlorine for a much longer period of time. Arctic ozone loss events such as those observed this year could become more frequent if winter Arctic stratospheric temperatures decrease in future as the Earth’s climate changes.

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.

The scientists noted 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 Antarctic ozone holes, and the possibility of future severe Arctic ozone loss, will continue for decades.

“Each of the balloon and satellite measurements included in this study were absolutely necessary to understand the ozone depletion we observed this past winter,” Walker said. “To be able to predict future Arctic ozone loss reliably in a changing climate, it is crucial that we maintain our atmospheric measurement capabilities.”

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From NASA JPL:

October 02, 2011

PASADENA, Calif. – 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 life on Earth 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; meteorological data 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 Antarctic ozone holes, and the possibility of future severe Arctic 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 ozone loss in a changing climate.”

Other institutions participating in the study included Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Potsdam, Germany; NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va.; Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, De Bilt, The Netherlands; Delft University of Technology, 2600 GA Delft, The Netherlands; Science Systems and Applications, Inc., Greenbelt, Md., and Hampton, Va.; Science and Technology Corporation, Lanham, Md.; Environment Canada, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Central Aerological Observatory, Russia; NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, Colo.; Arctic Research Center, Finnish Meteorological Institute, Finland; Danish Climate Center, Danish Meteorological Institute, Denmark; Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, The Netherlands; Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, St. Petersburg, Russia; National Institute for Environmental Studies, Japan; National Institute for Aerospace Technology, Spain; and University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

For more information on NASA’s Aura mission, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/aura . For more information on NASA’s CALIPSO mission, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/calipso .

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Jim G

” 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.”
Are there no naturally produced sources for the production of chlorine that could be a source for this process?
“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.”
I tought climate change was supposed to make it warmer, not colder??

Doug Proctor

The previous levels of chlorine didn’t do this. A graph of atmospheric chlorine content should show that levels have dropped off below the activation levels thought to cause the ozone layer loss. Or that the Antarctic ozone layer should be far greater than it is.
The Man-Destroying-the-World theme keeps coming up with connections that don’t make intuitive sense. And, here, I would wager, not observational sense, either. And models don’t count. Models of my future financial status I made in 1988 have shown me that models must be placed carefully to one side when the real world is considered.

Dave Wendt

The researchers found 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.
Wouldn’t that more accurately be stated “where an ozone “hole” has formed each spring since the mid 1980s.” when we first started looking for it.

starzmom

I’m confused. Aren’t high latitude temperatures supposed to go up because of climate change, not down?

jason

So they don’t even know the full story about ozone, yet everything climate related is “settled”. Sheep the lot of them.

Latitude

Momma need a house. Baby need some shoes……………………………

James Evans

Now I’m confused. Am I supposed to be terrified because the Arctic is too warm? Or terrified because the Arctic is too cold?

Enginear

Wan’t the ozone hole detected in the 1950’s? Also. I read somewhere that at the poles during early spring and late fall the ocean may be degassing Bromine-Chloride which could be supplying some of the Chlorine required for the ozone depletion.
I must be wrong though as such a peer reviewed study couldn’t possibly have ignored any of this when conducting their study.
Sincerely,
Barry Strayer

crosspatch

I would suggest that the ozone wasn’t “destroyed”. What happened is that ozone was not mixed in to the polar atmosphere as much as in previous years. Ozone destroys itself naturally. It is unstable. It takes UV from sunlight to create ozone. We have a few conditions lining up that would naturally cause this noticeable decline in polar ozone:
1. Reduced UV output in the spectrum of radiation emitted from the sun. If the amount of UV light is reduced, the amount of ozone created will be reduced. So we should see a general reduction in the amount of ozone available globally.
2. Colder temperatures aloft mean more UV radiation is required create ozone in the first place. It doesn’t take as much UV to create ozone from warm O2 as it does to create ozone from cold O2. If the gas is colder, you should expect to see less O3 creation from a given amount of O2. It requires exiting the O atoms to cause them to create O3. If the atoms are already at a higher energy state, it requires less excitement.
3. The poles get no sunlight in winter. This means no O3 is being created. What matters here are two factors: A: the rate at which ozone is decaying to O2. B: the extent to which polar air mixes with air from lower latitudes to bring in more ozone rich air created in areas where sunlight is reaching. Now I would expect the decay rate of O3 to O2 to be a bit faster in colder temperatures because there is less energy in the molecules required to maintain the unstable O3 state. In other words, if you had a given volume of O3, I would expect it to lose energy and form O2 faster in colder temperatures because the atoms in a molecule of O3 would not maintain the level of excitement required to exist as O3.
4. If the polar jet is configured in a way such that polar air is kept more sequestered from air from lower latitudes than average, we would expect to see a lower amount of O3 in the atmosphere come spring because less O3 from lower latitudes could mix with polar air. This is pretty common in Antarctica where they generally have a polar jet configured in winter so as to keep the polar air aloft fairly well sequestered from lower latitude air.
But hey, I am not a physicist. I’m just a network engineer. I am not seeing anything alarming in this information, though. To me it would seem exactly what I would expect to see. The part I am most unsure about, though, is the configuration of the polar jet over last winter.

StopTheClimatefascist

A large ozone hole over the Arctic, interesting. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t the whole goal of the Montreal protocol to get rid of the Ozone hole? Now, 25 years later ,we have an ozone hole of an unprecedented size, highly expensive chemicals are used in the refrigerators instead of cheap freons for few bucks, driving the prices of refrigerators up in a way that millions of poor people in Africa, Asia etc.. can’t afford to conserve their food properly and their children are therefore starving… Well, if it wouldn’t be actually sad, I’d write ‘Climate Fail’. But now seriously. 10’s of millions of people starved to death over the last 25 year and millions of lives could have been saved if billions tons of food would not get wasted due to improper storing caused by the restriction on cheap and highly effective freons. Somebody should be take responsible for that. Millions of children died due to the stupidity of the climate scientist and stupid politicians who signed the protocol. It’s just terrible.

Apparently Ozone is a dimensionless factor, going from “high” to “small amount”. That’s what Real Peer-Reviewed Science® is best at: saying things!

Jim G

Found several sources for an answer to my question. Estimates given indicate 80% of atmospheric chlorine is produced by man-made refrigerants and “oderarmdeunderant” type sprays. Find this hard to believe given the abundance of natural chlorine available in sodium chloride and many other natural sources? I also note that “models” were cited in some fo the reference materials I found. Looking forward to reading educated resposnses to this article.

“In the 2010-11 Arctic winter, we did not have temperatures that were lower than in the previous cold Arctic winters,” said Walker. “What was different about this year was that the temperatures were low enough to generate ozone-depleting forms of chlorine for a much longer period of time. Arctic ozone loss events such as those observed this year could become more frequent if winter Arctic stratospheric temperatures decrease in future as the Earth’s climate changes.
So, is this NASA and a consensus of scientists stating that there is a real chance that the world might have an opportunity to become colder in the future? What about the massive global warming event to whit there will be no more snows evah?

Jay

Hmmm…”antarctic was colder for a longer period of time…”
This does not sound like the global warming we are supposed to be worried about.

Roy Clark

So what. Ozone is produced when molecular oxygen absorbs solar UV around 200 nm. The ozone will come back when the sun shines and the ozone hole is unique to cold -very cold- conditions. The rest of the planet will not be affected.
Stop this alarmist nonsense. The ozone hole was a dress rehearsal for global warming. Cry wolf loudly and get congress to send money – lots of it. That starts the gravy train. More shoddy research, more useless models, more alarmist propaganda and more money, and repeat ad nauseam. Then get a climate treaty to really keep things rolling.

Severian

So, global cooling is bad? Who’d have thunk it! But then, since global warming causes cold winters, I guess we’re back to banning CO2 emissions again using the doublethink/blackwhite of the AGW alarmists.
Guess we banned those evil asthma inhalers just in time!

Jim G

PS
CFC refrigerants and sprays have not been used in quite some time in the US of A.

Wil

Its really funny here (Canada) – this appeared on the CBC web page which I notified folks about here at WUWT yesterday. Now its in all our newspapers. It’s the words – extremely low temperatures in the stratosphere – that have thrown the AGW fanatics completely off the game plan. Of course the word – stratosphere – having further completely stupefied them as 99.999% have no idea what stratosphere means. Hilarious, really. David Suzuki never covered this in his fruit fly studies. Al Gore never covered this while inventing the internet. This isn’t on Hansen’s hockey stick. The IPCC don’t have an answer for their AGW fanatics on this one.
Extreme cold!!! That doesn’t compute with the ice melting and flooding the entire world sea board and flooding South Pacific Islands either. Really, you need to witness the stumbling and staggering around this baby!

ArtisiticAviator

Seawater appears to have a relatively high concentration of NaCl. Assuming that all “atmospheric” Cl is from human sources seems counter-intuitive. I am not a chemist, but surely some of that NaCl could make it to the upper atmosphere to cause changes in O3 concentration. Anybody have a counter-theory on this?

“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.”
A couple of facts that the authors manage to neglect.
As they point out, these “holes” are occuring during the winter.
What happens in the winter? People stay indoors, when they do get outside they are bundled up with little skin showing.
Similar for animals, most of them are spending as little time exposed to the weather as possible.
The authors point out that the problem occurred because the atmosphere was colder than usual for an extended period. All the more reason to stay indoors.
Even in the more southerly regions that this “hole” manages to reach, there is only a few hours per day of sunlight, and that sun is low on the horizon, which causes the sunlight to travel a much longer path through the atmosphere than it would during the summer.
Even if one believed that CFC’s were the major cause for this “hole”, it wouldn’t follow from the evidence presented here, that this “hole” is a danger to anyone.

Nice graphic.
It confirms my posts relating to the role of the rise of the Earth’s magnetic field in the central Siberia. See the ‘stratospheric ionisation’ in
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/NFC.htm

Kurt in Switzerland

Translation:
1) The study of the artic polar vortex (and of ozone layer dynamics) is still in its infancy.
2) Somehow, somewhere, there is a link to the excesses of mankind. Doubtless, many will miss the apparent irony of extreme cold being simultaneous with unprecedented warming (including in the Arctic).
3) Oh, by the way: keep those funds coming strong.
Kurt in Switzerland

JohnOfEnfield

“Unprecedented”. Since when? And how do they know?

pat

Sea salt puts far more chlorine in the atmosphere than man related activities. Volcanoes many time more in the upper atmosphere. 2010 and 2011 experienced some rather intense volcanic activity in Iceland. Which happens to be very close to ….the Arctic. Hmmmm. Not worth mentioning I guess.

Wil

Cause of ozone holes? I’m with Crosspatch on this baby. Folks the earth is tilted (I know that a surprise to anyone here) giving us winters with no sun at all over the far north. Where I live come January we only get five hours of sunlight a day and I’m in Northern Alberta here at the oil sands plants. Temperatures drop down to -45C – its dark when we wake up and dark when we return home. Further north there is no sun at all. No UV rays, period. No inner action in the atmosphere with the sun – and as anyone on this site knows full well it is the sun’s interaction with the earth’s atmosphere that makes ozone. Extreme cold that even fewer AGW fanatics even contemplate – extreme cold snuffs out life quicker than you can count to 100. None of us here or living further north have EVER feared boiling to death – but every single one of us know full well we can all freeze to death in a matter of minutes. Year after years after year it the same – we lose folks who we find frozen to death. Never yet found one human boiled to death in my neck of the woods.
That the ozone in the atmosphere is so cold nothing forms as it should isn’t a surprise to anyone living in this part of the world. We barley exist.

rg

Are we to make Swimmingpools illegal soon? Surely they must release some chlorine in the atmosphere. 😉
rg

Jeff

Has there been any studies that compare the electromagnetic field that emanates from the poles as a possible control mechanism along with the solar winds for the hole? Just something I thought of the other day when i saw a picture from space of an aurora that seemed to mimic the hole at least in my mind.

mkelly

Enginear says:
October 3, 2011 at 9:33 am
Wan’t the ozone hole detected in the 1950′s?
The answer is yes by Dobson, 1956 I think. That’s why the measurment for this are dobson units.
Vulcanoes are a good source for atmospheric chlorine. There are some venting in Antarctica and the Islandic one would be a good candidate for the north.

KR

Note that stratospheric cooling is one of the fingerprints of greenhouse gas warming – the troposphere gets warmer, the stratosphere gets cooler, as energy is retained lower in the atmosphere. That’s right up there with nights warming faster than days as a distinguishing mark.
This is in contrast to a warming due to solar influences, where both the stratosphere and troposphere would warm, and days would warm faster than nights. Neither of those is happening.
This ozone hole sounds like an unfortunate side effect of the cooling stratosphere.

TomRude

The scientists noted 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.
Sure… LOL

The premise that chemical (those from CFC’s) cause ozone loss also made the unlikely conclusion that with a 60 year half-life that the ozone destroying chemicals should be heading downwards quite a bit. This is similar to the last 10 years and our lack of warming. Inconveniant facts that do not follow the perscribed thoughts on how the atmosphere behaves….so it is glossed over and not mentioned that it is unexpected and that we should study the problem from a new angle perhaps and find out why the old theory was incorrect…but shrug.
They used incorrect “mullings” if you will about how the stratosphere works to generate their ideas about AGW in the first place and lo and behold we see the same type of logical fallacies in other things the greens (or similar) people pushed prior to that. (in this case CFC’s, but take your pick on theory if you want.)
It should come to no surprise to us in the real world that this is the case.
The entire premise behind CFC’s was based on the false idea that the stratosphere and troposphere do not mix. This is the same false premise behind AGW if you think about it. They insist that the famous troposphere hot spot will occur because the air and temperature do not mix (kind of like that greenhouse.)
Although there is less mixing going on at those elevations (and between the two layers at the boundary if you will), the air is not constrained nearly as much as required for really either theory to work like it should. The greenhouse theory required air to be constrained to a *much larger extent and the CFC idea is based on the premise that free oxygen will not exist in the stratosphere at some later unspecified date. Both are equally outregous, because frankly if ozone is created in the stratosphere with a reaction between O and O2 plus ultra-violet radiation it would stand to reason that the only requirement for the “ozone layer” is actually free oxygen. Sure, you can have catalysts that destroy this equation in theory in the stratosphere…that I would not doubt one bit. But the fact that the process will actually make oxygen no longer occur in the stratopshere? Preposterous. It is inevitable that this thought process would fail, and it really is the death of this theory when you think about it. The mixing between the atmospheric layers is the largest problem with these theories at the end. The boundaries between the layers of the atmosphere are not some glass window or a membrane that can not be crossed, they are arbitrary human deliminated boundaries that exhibit certain properties which for all intensive purposes are nothing like a greenhouse or an enclosed space that they say proves the physics.
But just like AGW, every pseudo science theory requires you to watch the pea under the thimble. In this case the thimble moves to make sure that every scientist in the past was right even when wrong and in addition, “it’s worse then we thought.”
There are many other quotes to come from that, and heck I wouldn’t leave it at just that, but I think the picture is fairly clear.
We are learning that cosmic rays have a much larger impact on our atmosphere then previously believed. The correlation between cosmic ray radiation and ozone depletion warrents further investigation by itself, but these so-called scientists are so busy spreading fear and panic and selling their version of doomsday that they miss the bigger things they should be studying.
The end result is that the Ozone theory was flawed because as long as free oxygen exists on our planet and the sun is shining, ozone is being created.
We could have stated that back in 1989, but no one stood up to them. And then they come up with AGW. Like I said, it should surprise none of us. We all let this happen..

D. King

James Evans says:
October 3, 2011 at 9:32 am
Now I’m confused. Am I supposed to be terrified because the Arctic is too warm? Or terrified because the Arctic is too cold?
LOL!
Just be terrified, and hand over your cash…sheesh!

crosspatch

“Surely they must release some clorine in the atmosphere”
Chlorine in that form reacts with something long before it reaches the stratosphere. The claimed problem with CFCs is that they are very stable and the compound is transported to the upper atmosphere. Sunlight then breaks down the molecule releasing the chlorine to react with ozone. But this argument fails in a couple of ways. First of all, there is no sunlight reaching the upper atmosphere to break down the CFCs which in turn would react with O3.
Secondly, wasn’t there a paper out a couple of years ago that reached the conclusion that the whole problem with CFCs was overstated by nearly an order of magnitude?
I don’t believe that we can state with certainty that CFCs are a significant modulator of upper atmosphere ozone. We have noticed no significant change over the long term after greatly reducing the amount of CFCs being released. We found ozone holes the first time we looked for them and have seen them ever since. We do not have enough historical data to know if they are perfectly natural and have no idea as to the bounds of natural variation of them. The notion that they are somehow caused by humans releasing anything into the atmosphere is basically nothing more than informed speculation.
So the whole anthropogenic ozone hole creation hypothesis is just that, hypothesis. We are quite likely wasting billions of dollars (again) and costing lives (shuttle Columbia, for example) in our haste to “mitigate” something that might not be a problem at all.

Geoffrey Withnell

Actually, the colder temperature would slow the breakdown of ozone. It does require a certain amount of energy input to break the bonds in the O3 molecules, so they can reform into O2 molecules. O3 is unstable because you get more energy out of the breakup than it took to initiate it. But you still need the initial “kick”, otherwise the O3 molecule could not form at all.
crosspatch says:
October 3, 2011 at 9:36 am
3. The poles get no sunlight in winter. This means no O3 is being created. What matters here are two factors: A: the rate at which ozone is decaying to O2. B: the extent to which polar air mixes with air from lower latitudes to bring in more ozone rich air created in areas where sunlight is reaching. Now I would expect the decay rate of O3 to O2 to be a bit faster in colder temperatures because there is less energy in the molecules required to maintain the unstable O3 state. In other words, if you had a given volume of O3, I would expect it to lose energy and form O2 faster in colder temperatures because the atoms in a molecule of O3 would not maintain the level of excitement required to exist as O3.

mwhite

The Independent
http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/giant-ozone-hole-found-above-arctic-2364849.html
“It is thought global warming could be responsible for some of the damage because greenhouse gases trap energy at lower altitude, heating up the atmosphere nearer the ground but cooling the stratosphere, creating conditions for the formation of chemicals that break apart oxygen molecules of ozone. “

Warmistas needn’t worry, there will be no related interpretation of the data. It really is impressive how well the orthodox media have picked up this code of conduct. Of those websites that reported this story, I have yet to see one that allows comments from readers. Not that it matters, since there is WUWT.

bubbagyro

Jeff:
You are bringing the truth closer to all of us.
Diamagnetism is the property of a molecule to react to a strong magnetic field and produce a weak magnetic field opposite to the strong imposed field. The molecule is thus repelled from the area of strong magnetic field (flux).
Ozone is diamagnetic, with its electrons unpaired, compared to oxygen, with unpaired electrons. Oxygen is paramagnetic, so it aligns with a field, as opposed to ozone, which is repelled.
So, where the earth’s field is strongest (emanating from or reentering the earth), one would expect the greatest effect to occur. This diamagnetic effect is still very small, but enough to measure. In winter, when molecules slow down in the stratosphere, the forces of diffusion (Fick’s first law of diffusion governs this, and flux in Fick’s equation is directly proportional to temperature) become relatively less than the diamagnetic repulsion, the colder the temperature. At this time, under these conditions, the tendency of ozone to move from areas of higher concentration to lower concentration is affected more by the magnetic field than it is when molecules are at higher temperature.
Fick’s Law still wins, but relatively less, leading to a slightly lower concentration of ozone at areas of highest field strength. Remember that field strength is extremely localized, falling off as the cube of the distance away. This explains the localization of the “hole”.
This can be corroborated, if the measurements for ozone concentration are of sufficient resolution, by observing that the ozone “hole” moves with the magnetic pole, the latter which has moved hundreds of miles in recent years.

A contrarian theory is that the Arctic ozone hole could be caused by high cosmic rays. See:
Correlation between Cosmic Rays and Ozone Depletion, Q.-B. Lu PRL 102, 118501 (2009)
“This Letter reports reliable satellite data in the period of 1980–2007 covering two full 11-yr cosmic ray (CR) cycles, clearly showing the correlation between CRs and ozone depletion, especially the polar ozone loss (hole) over Antarctica. The results provide strong evidence of the physical mechanism that the CR driven electron-induced reaction of halogenated molecules plays the dominant role in causing the ozone hole. Moreover, this mechanism predicts one of the severest ozone losses in 2008–2009 and probably another large hole around 2019–2020, according to the 11-yr CR cycle.”
http://www.science.uwaterloo.ca/~qblu/Lu-2009PRL.pdf

Thomas Gough

“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.”
As soon as we read ‘…chlorine from human-produced chemicals….’, we have a sure sign of a baised report as it implies that all chlorine in the atmosphere is the result of human activity and that therefore none of it is natural.
Try:- http://www.mitosyfraudes.org/Ingles/Cloro.html
TTG

klem

Please folks, please. Please stop saying that a possible source of atmospheric chlorine is NaCl, common table salt. Table salt has already been demonized by the medical establishment. Pretty soon we’ll have Cap&Trade for salt and we won’t be albe to throw salt on the sidewalk in the winter, and we’ll force our children to watch “An Inconvenient Salt” in school. Leave table salt out of this.

Latitude

If the Arctic stratosphere gets colder, it should get drier….
….that would make a colder troposphere because drier reflects less
This is probably just another regulating thing….
I’m going with the lack of exchange of fresh air and lack of sunlight…………

mwhite

“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”
Mid march, the equinox a time when the sun is overhead the equator. Presumably that means the south end of the world gets as much light as the top end.
http://ozonewatch.gsfc.nasa.gov/monthly/monthly_2011-03_SH.html
The difference, the temperature????????

Gary Pearse

There is a lot of chlorine, fluorine in the ocean and in air-borne salt. There is methane and there is fluorine, CO2, etc from volcanoes. Might we not expect some CFCs naturally? The ingredients are abundantly available from natural sources. Probably the earth made its own CFCs long before man discovered them.

bob paglee

Is this a harbinger of global cooling? Or is it a reaction to changes in the Arctic’s ocean-heat circulation pattern?
Way back in winter 1947-1948, as a young electrical engineer working for a large electronics manufacturer, I was sent to Point Barrow and the Navy’s Arctic Test Station to study the thickness of the ice in Alaska using some experimental ultrasonic equipment.
As I recall, at Pt. Barrow when the wind blew from the north, across the ice-covered Arctic Ocean, the outdoor temperature would warm up a bit, maybe to around minus 25F. But when the wind came from the south across the frigid Alaska landmass, the temperature would get very cold, dropping maybe to minus 40F at Point Barrow.
The night I spent in Umiat, which is on the Colville River and rather far inland from the ocean, it was really cold — around minus 70F as I recall. I believe there’s nothing like a nearby ocean, even if frozen-over, to help warm the local climate.
I have wondered why, with the ocean nearby frozen-over, the air above the warmer seawater, even when covered by a sheet of ice, could be warmer than over the land. Can longwave infrared radiation from the comparatively warm ocean water below the ice-covered surface penetrate the ice and warm the air above?
Is NASA measuring the water temperatures under the ice that vary according to changing ocean circulation currents, to compare this with the stratospheric air temperatures above the ice?

dave in Canmore

How many years of Arctic Ozone measurements been taken? What is the baseline? Anyone know this?

I’m sure the dramatic increase in solar flare activity versus the previous year (2010 was a *very* quiet year for solar flares) has absolutely nothing to do with it. It’s not as if the solar flares eject anything like ionized gases that traverse the 93 million miles to earth, only to get trapped in the earth’s magnetic field and ‘funneled’ toward the polar regions where they can interact with ozone to break it down.
(/end sarcasm>

Ged

It always gets me how there is a huge ring of HIGH ozone concentration (top of the scale even) sitting around the ozone hole. In fact, the perimeter of the ozone hole has the highest levels of ozone on the planet, and then when the hole closes later in the year (the hole is seasonal for the fall), that super high concentration of ozone also goes away.
What is the actual flux of ozone if one takes the hole and the high ozone perimeter? That’s something I’d like to know, along with what is generating this huge concentration around the hole only when the hole is in existence? Looks more like ozone is being shuffled around rather than net made/destroyed, but can’t know for sure without the total flux.

bubbagyro

The real punch line is that ozone is also a potent greenhouse gas. By definition very, very bad stuff. We must get rid of all electrical things. Including electric cars. Higher taxes on electricity! (Oh, we are already achieving that effectively with windmills…Sorry!).

bubbagyro

Brady at 11:17 a:
Hurricanes have a height of 50-60,000 feet, well into the stratosphere. The low pressure can suck up sea water, containing chloride and other salts, and inject them into the stratosphere. Same goes with thunderstorms to a lesser degree. Then the stratosphere distributes the salts. I don’t know how much, or how this varies over time, but probably no one does.