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The Ozone Hole 2021

Antarctic ozone hole is 13th largest on record and expected to persist into November

 

 

Antarctic Situation at 2021 November 8 British Antarctic Survey Ozone Bulletin

Antarctic ozone today:  Ozone amounts over the continent are beginning to recover, but remain very low. The 2021 ozone hole grew rapidly from late August and peaked at around 24 million square kilometres (msqkm) in early October, above the average of the last decade, though comparable to last year.  It has now shrunk a little to 18 msqkm.  Lowest ozone values are currently around 110 DU.  Higher ozone values are seen around the continent just outside the southern polar vortex, particularly south of Australia where values are near 400 DU.  The polar vortex peaked at around 35 msqkm in late September, above average for the time of year.   It has now shrunk a little to 32 msqkm, much larger than average.  The Antarctic stratosphere currently remains fairly stable.  The temperature of the ozone layer over Antarctica is rising but is still below the -78°C Polar Stratospheric Cloud (PSC) formation threshold in the lower parts of the ozone layer at the vortex centre, as warming propagates downwards.  It is generally below the long term average.  The area with PSCs reached a maximum of around 29 million square kilometres (msqkm) in early August, above the average of 25 msqkm.   It has shrunk to near zero, reaching this point later than average over the last decade.  The ozone layer temperature is highest around Antarctica and declines towards the equator and towards the centre of the polar vortex.  An extensive ozone hole is expected to continue over the coming ten days.

NASA Ozone Watch: Latest status of ozone

Substantial Antarctic Ozone Hole in 2021

A colder than usual winter atmosphere over the Southern Hemisphere led to a deep and larger-than-average ozone hole in 2021.

The 2021 Antarctic ozone hole reached its maximum area on October 7 and ranks as the 13th largest since 1979. Scientists from NASA and NOAA reported that this year’s ozone hole developed similarly to last year’s: A colder than usual Southern Hemisphere winter led to a deep and larger-than-average ozone hole that will likely persist into November or December.

 “This is a large ozone hole because of the colder-than-average 2021 stratospheric conditions, and without a Montreal Protocol, it would have been much larger,” said Paul Newman, chief scientist for Earth sciences at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

 What we call the “ozone hole” is a thinning of the ozone layer in the stratosphere above Antarctica that develops every September. Chemically active forms of chlorine and bromine—derived from human-produced compounds—are released into the stratosphere during reactions on high-altitude polar clouds. The reactive chlorine and bromine then initiate ozone-destroying reactions as the Sun rises in the Antarctic at the end of winter.

 NASA and NOAA monitor the ozone hole via complementary instrumental methods. NASA’s Aura satellite, the NASA-NOAA Suomi NPP satellite, and NOAA’s JPSS NOAA-20 satellite all measure ozone from space. Aura’s Microwave Limb Sounder also estimates levels of ozone-destroying chlorine.

 This year, NASA satellite observations determined the ozone hole reached a maximum of 24.8 million square kilometers (9.6 million square miles)—roughly the size of North America—before beginning to shrink in mid-October. Colder-than-average temperatures and strong winds in the stratosphere circling Antarctica contributed to its size.

 In addition to the ozone hole’s area, scientists also track the average amount of depletion—how little ozone is left inside the hole. NOAA scientists at the South Pole Station record the layer’s thickness by releasing weather balloons carrying ozonesondes and by making ground-based measurements with a Dobson spectrophotometer.

On October 7, 2021, scientists recorded a total-column ozone concentration of 102 Dobson units, the 8th-lowest level since 1986. Prior to the emergence of the ozone hole in the 1970s, average ozone above the South Pole in September and October ranged from 250 to 350 Dobson units.

While the 2021 Antarctic ozone hole is larger than average, it is substantially smaller than those in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The chart above shows the average size of the ozone hole (solid blue and gray lines), as well as the range of its size (light blue and gray shaded bar) for each year since 1979.

The ozone hole is recovering due to the Montreal Protocol and subsequent amendments banning the release of harmful ozone-depleting chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs. Newman and colleagues estimated that if atmospheric chlorine levels from CFCs were as high today as they were in the early 2000s, this year’s ozone hole would have been larger by about four million square kilometers (1.5 million square miles) under the same weather conditions.

NASA Earth Observatory images  by Joshua Stevens, using data courtesy of Paul Newman and Eric Nash/NASA/Ozone Watch, and GEOS-5 data from the Global Modeling and Assimilation Office at NASA GSFC. Story by Sofie Bates/NASA’s Earth Science News Team, adapted for NASA Earth Observatory by Kathryn Hansen.

Substantial Antarctic Ozone Hole in 2021 (nasa.gov)

Antarctic ozone hole is 13th largest on record and expected to persist into November | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (noaa.gov)

 

NASA Ozone Watch: Latest status of ozone

Antarctic Situation at 2021 October 20 British Antarctic Survey Ozone Bulletin

Antarctic ozone today:  Ozone amounts over the continent remain near their minimum, but are beginning to recover. The 2021 ozone hole grew rapidly from late August and peaked at around 24 million square kilometres (msqkm) in early October, above the average of the last decade, though comparable to last year.  It has now shrunk a little to 21 msqkm.  Lowest ozone values are currently around 110 DU.  Higher ozone values are seen around the continent just outside the southern polar vortex, particularly south of Australia where values are over 400 DU.  The polar vortex peaked at around 35 msqkm in late September, above average for the time of year.   It has now shrunk a little to 34 msqkm.  The Antarctic stratosphere currently remains fairly stable.  The temperature of the ozone layer over Antarctica is rising but is still generally below the -78°C Polar Stratospheric Cloud (PSC) formation threshold, except at the higher levels, as warming propagates downwards.  It is generally below the long term average.  The area with PSCs reached a maximum of around 29 million square kilometres (msqkm) in early August, above the average of 25 msqkm.   It has shrunk to 10 msqkm, above average for the time of year.  The ozone layer temperature is highest around Antarctica and declines towards the equator and towards the centre of the polar vortex.  An extensive ozone hole is expected to continue over the coming ten days.

NASA Ozone Watch: Latest status of ozone

Antarctic Situation at 2021 October 4 British Antarctic Survey Ozone Bulletin

Antarctic ozone today:  Ozone amounts over the continent are near their minimum. The 2021 ozone hole grew rapidly from late August and now covers around 23 million square kilometres (msqkm), above the average of the last decade, though comparable to last year.  Lowest ozone values are currently below 100 DU.  Higher ozone values are seen around the continent just outside the southern polar vortex, particularly south of Australia where values are over 400 DU.  The polar vortex is near its maximum size, at around 35 msqkm, above average for the time of year.   The Antarctic stratosphere currently remains fairly stable.  The temperature of the ozone layer over Antarctica has passed the winter minimum but is still widely below the -78°C Polar Stratospheric Cloud (PSC) formation threshold.  It is generally below the long term average.  The area with PSCs reached a maximum of around 29 million square kilometres (msqkm) in early August, above the average of 25 msqkm.   It has shrunk to 15 msqkm, above average for the time of year.  The ozone layer temperature is highest around Antarctica and declines towards the equator and towards the centre of the polar vortex.  Ozone depletion is expected to continue over the coming ten days, with the ozone hole returning to a more circular form, although offset from the Pole towards the Atlantic.

NASA Ozone Watch: Latest status of ozone

 

16th September 2021

Following the discovery of the Antarctic ozone hole in the 1980s, and the resultant international protocols established to reduce the destruction of ozone, the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer is now marked each year on 16 September to maintain awareness of the human impact on our environment. Dominating the headlines since its discovery was announced in 1985, this ‘ozone hole’ has been carefully monitored every austral spring ever since. The Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS)* monitors ozone in the atmosphere, as well as ultraviolet radiation that gets through the ozone layer to reach Earth’s surface. The Service records past trends, gives a snapshot of the current situation and forecasts ozone concentrations over the next days to support research, policy monitoring and information of the public. Each year as the Southern Hemisphere heads into spring, human-made chemicals break down ozone over the Antarctic, causing the ozone layer to become much thinner. Because the ozone hole can be located over regions with populations at risk of being exposed to unhealthy levels of UV radiation, the information that CAMS provides – based on satellite and in situ observations and detailed models of the atmosphere – is therefore very important.

 This year’s ozone hole

CAMS constantly monitors Earth’s ozone layer, tracking the formation and evolution of the annual chemical destruction of ozone that leads to the development of the hole. CAMS scientists have been closely monitoring the development of this year´s ozone hole over the South Pole, which has now reached an extent larger than Antarctica. After a rather standard start, the 2021 ozone hole has considerably grown in the last two weeks and is now larger than 75 % of ozone holes at that stage in the season since 1979.

This year, the ozone hole developed as expected at the start of the season. It seems pretty similar to last year's, which also wasn't really exceptional until early September, but then turned into one of the largest and longest-lasting ozone holes in our data record later in the season. Now our forecasts show that this year´s hole has evolved into a rather larger than usual one. The vortex is quite stable and the stratospheric temperatures are even lower than last year, so it may continue to grow slightly over the next two or three weeks.”

Copernicus is the European Union's Earth Observation Programme, looking at our planet and its environment for the ultimate benefit of all European citizens.

Monitoring ozone for a healthier world | Copernicus

Antarctic Situation at 2021 September 13 British Antarctic Survey Ozone Bulletin

Antarctic ozone today:  Ozone amounts over the continent are declining as ozone depletion intensifies and ozone hole levels have been reached.  The 2021 ozone hole has  grown rapidly and covers around 21 million square kilometres (msqkm), above the average of the last decade.  Lowest ozone values are currently around 160 DU.  Higher ozone values are seen around the continent just outside the southern polar vortex, particularly south of New Zealand where values are over 400 DU.  The polar vortex is near its maximum size, at around 33 msqkm, a little above average for the time of year.   The Antarctic stratosphere currently remains fairly stable.  The temperature of the ozone layer over Antarctica has passed the winter minimum but is still widely below the -78°C Polar Stratospheric Cloud (PSC) formation threshold.  It is generally below the long term average.  The area with PSCs reached a maximum of around 29 million square kilometres (msqkm) in early August, above the average of 25 msqkm.   It has shrunk to 20 msqkm, a little above average for the time of year.  The ozone layer temperature is highest around Antarctica and declines towards the equator and towards the centre of the polar vortex.  Ozone depletion is expected to increase over the coming weeks.

NASA Ozone Watch: Latest status of ozone

Antarctic Situation at 2021 September 6 British Antarctic Survey Ozone Bulletin

Antarctic ozone today:  Ozone amounts over the continent are declining as ozone depletion intensifies and ozone hole levels have been reached.  The 2021 ozone hole is  growing rapidly and covers around 19 million square kilometres (msqkm), above the average of the last decade.  Lowest ozone values are currently around 140 DU above the continent south of Africa.  Higher ozone values are seen around the continent just outside the southern polar vortex, particularly over the Indian Ocean sector where values are near 430 DU.  The polar vortex is near its maximum size, at around 33 msqkm, a little above average for the time of year.   The Antarctic stratosphere currently remains fairly stable.  The temperature of the ozone layer over Antarctica is near the winter minimum and is widely below the -78°C Polar Stratospheric Cloud (PSC) formation threshold.  It is generally below the long term average.  The area with PSCs reached a maximum of around 29 million square kilometres (msqkm) in early August, above the average of 25 msqkm.   It has shrunk to 23 msqkm, a little above average for the time of year.  The ozone layer temperature is highest around Antarctica and declines towards the equator and towards the centre of the polar vortex.  Ozone depletion is expected to increase over the coming weeks.

NASA Ozone Watch: Latest status of ozone

Antarctic Situation at 2021 August 25 British Antarctic Survey Ozone Bulletin

Antarctic ozone today:  Ozone amounts over the continent are declining as ozone depletion intensifies and ozone hole levels have been reached.  The 2021 ozone hole has begun to grow and covers around 1 million square kilometres (msqkm).  Lowest ozone values are currently around 190 DU near the base of the Antarctic Peninsula.  Higher ozone values, over 400 DU are seen around the continent just outside the southern polar vortex, particularly over the Indian Ocean sector.  The polar vortex is near its maximum size, at around 32 msqkm, a little above average for the time of year.   The Antarctic stratosphere currently remains fairly stable.  The temperature of the ozone layer over Antarctica is near the winter minimum and is widely below the -78°C Polar Stratospheric Cloud (PSC) formation threshold.  It is generally below the long term average.  The area with PSCs reached a maximum of around 29 million square kilometres (msqkm) in early August, above the average of 25 msqkm.   It has shrunk to 25 msqkm, a little above average for the time of year.  The ozone layer temperature is highest around Antarctica and declines towards the equator and towards the centre of the polar vortex.  Ozone depletion is expected to increase over the coming weeks.

Antarctic Situation at 2021 August 16 British Antarctic Survey Ozone Bulletin

Antarctic ozone today:  The 2021 southern polar vortex is still building, so that higher ozone values, over 400 DU are seen around the continent.  The stratosphere is currently fairly stable.  Ozone amounts over the continent are beginning to decline as ozone depletion commences.  Lowest ozone values are currently around 220 DU and are relatively low and uniform across the continent.  The temperature of the ozone layer over Antarctica is near the winter minimum and is widely below the -78°C Polar Stratospheric Cloud (PSC) formation threshold.  It is generally below the long term average.  The area with PSCs reached a maximum of around 29 million square kilometres (msqkm) in early August, above the average of 25 msqkm.   It has shrunk to 26 msqkm, a little above average for the time of year.  The ozone layer temperature is highest around Antarctica and declines towards the equator and towards the centre of the polar vortex.  The vortex has grown to 32 msqkm, a little above average for the time of year.   Ozone depletion is expected to increase over the coming weeks.

Antarctic Situation at 2021 July 27British Antarctic Survey Ozone Bulletin

Antarctic ozone today:  The 2021 southern polar vortex is building, so that higher ozone values, up to 390 DU are seen around the continent.  The stratosphere is currently very stable.  Ozone amounts over the continent are beginning to decline as ozone depletion commences.  Lowest ozone values are currently around 240 DU and are relatively uniform across the continent.  The temperature of the ozone layer over Antarctica is still falling and is widely below the -78°C Polar Stratospheric Cloud (PSC) formation threshold.  It is generally below the long term average.  The area with PSCs is 28 million square kilometres (msqkm), above average for the time of year.  The ozone layer temperature is highest around Antarctica and declines towards the equator and towards the centre of the polar vortex.  The vortex has grown to 29 msqkm, a little above average for the time of year.   

Environment Canada Ozone Images

Antarctic Situation at 2021 June 25 British Antarctic Survey Ozone Bulletin

Antarctic ozone today:  The 2021 southern polar vortex is building, so that higher ozone values, up to 340 DU are seen around the continent.  The stratosphere is currently very stable.  Ozone amounts over the continent are still near the autumn minimum, around 250 DU and are relatively uniform, however ozone depletion is beginning to take place.  The temperature of the ozone layer over Antarctica is falling and is below the -78°C Polar Stratospheric Cloud (PSC) formation threshold.  The area with PSCs is 20 million square kilometres (msqkm), a little above average for the time of year.  The ozone layer temperature is highest around Antarctica and declines towards the equator and towards the centre of the polar vortex.  The vortex has grown to 25 msqkm, about average for the time of year.   

 

 

The Ozone Hole August 2021

The Ozone Hole September 2021

The Ozone Hole October 2021

The Ozone Hole November 2021