Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Antarctic forecast: premature break-up of ozone hole this week

24.09.2002


Based on satellite data from the European Space Agency, the national meteorological centre of the Netherlands predicts the Antarctic ozone hole will break apart this week, months earlier than usual.



A scientist at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) adds that the depth of the ozone hole is much smaller than previously seen.

"This breakdown is occurring exceptionally early in the year, about two months earlier than normal", says Henk Eskes, a KNMI senior scientist. "The depth of the ozone hole this year also is unusually small, about half that recorded in 2001".


The KNMI researcher predicted the Antarctic ozone hole will separate into two parts by Wednesday, 25 September, and will weaken even further afterwards. Despite the optimistic forecast, he warned the possibility that one of the two remnants will strengthen and form a new ozone hole “cannot be excluded.”

Globally, there has been a slow decrease in the amount of ozone-depleting substances in the atmosphere, Eskes said, due to international treaties to reduce their production. But, he added, “this decrease is too slow to explain this year’s weak ozone hole.”

The explanation lies instead with the natural year-to-year variability of atmospheric circulation that influences the size and duration of the ozone hole, according to the Dutch scientist. The ozone hole is surrounded by a vortex of strong winds that block the exchange of air between polar and mid-latitude regions. During the South Pole’s spring and summer, the temperature increases and the winds weaken. As a result, ozone-poor air inside the vortex mixes with the ozone-richer air outside, and the ozone hole dissipates.

“Normally this happens in November-December, but this year we predict it will happen this week,” Eskes said.

Since the early 1980s, the Antarctic ozone hole has developed every year starting in August or September. More than half of the area’s natural ozone is depleted eventually, caused by such ozone-depleting substances as chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, which had been used as refrigerants, solvents and foam-blowing agents.

The strong ozone depletion occurs only at very low temperatures under the influence of solar radiation. As a result, the ozone hole only appears over the cold region of Antarctica, when the sun returns after the polar winter.

Depletion of the ozone layer also occurs outside the ozone hole at mid-latitudes. In these areas, however, the depletion occurs by slower processes and is less strong than over Antarctica.

KNMI, the Dutch national research and information centre for climate, climatic change and seismology, uses data from ESA’s Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment (GOME) instrument onboard the ERS-2 satellite to generate daily global ozone analyses and nine-day ozone forecasts.

The centre’s GOME Fast Delivery Service performs near real time processing of the satellite data. GOME ozone observations are assimilated into a tracer transport model, driven by meteorological fields from the numerical weather prediction model generated by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, a UK-based international organisation for advance weather forecasts.

The GOME Fast Delivery Service was developed under ESA’s Data User Programme, an effort dedicated to developing and demonstrating applications services in support of institutional and private user communities.

The GOME instrument is a nadir-scanning ultraviolet and visible spectrometer to monitor atmospheric ozone levels. Since 1996, ESA has been delivering to KNMI and other users three-day GOME global observations of total ozone, nitrogen dioxide and related cloud data via CD-ROM and the Internet.

Launched earlier this year, ESA’s Envisat satellite carries several instruments to assist climate researchers in monitoring ozone levels and other atmospheric conditions. Enivsat’s suite of ten sensors include: the Scanning Imaging Absorption Spectrometer for Atmospheric Cartography (SCIAMACHY) instrument to measure trace gases and aerosol concentrations in the atmosphere; the global ozone monitoring by occultation of stars (GOMOS) sensor to observe the concentration of ozone in the stratosphere; and the Michelson interferometer for passive atmospheric sounding (MIPAS) to collect information about chemical and physical processes in the stratosphere, such as those that will affect future ozone concentrations.

ESA, together with the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), also is preparing a series of three satellites called MetOp that will carry follow-on GOME instruments and guarantee at least ten years of continued ozone monitoring from space starting in 2005.

Claus Zehner | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esa.int

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

ShAPEing the future of magnesium car parts

23.08.2017 | Automotive Engineering

New insights into the world of trypanosomes

23.08.2017 | Life Sciences

New Test for Rare Immunodeficiency

23.08.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>