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Published May 11, 1990 | public
Journal Article

Spatial Variation of Ozone Depletion Rates in the Springtime Antarctic Polar Vortex


An area-mapping technique, designed to filter out synoptic perturbations of the Antarctic polar vortex such as distortion or displacement away from the pole, was applied to the Nimbus-7 TOMS (Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer) data. This procedure reveals the detailed morphology of the temporal evolution of column O_3. The results for the austral spring of 1987 suggest the existence of a relatively stable collar region enclosing an interior that is undergoing large variations. There is tentative evidence for quasi-periodic (15 to 20 days) O_3 fluctuations in the collar and for upwelling of tropospheric air in late spring. A simplified photochemical model of O_3 loss and the temporal evolution of the area-mapped polar O_3 are used to constrain the chlorine monoxide (C1O) concentrations in the springtime Antarctic vortex. The concentrations required to account for the observed loss of O_3 are higher than those previously reported by Anderson et al. but are comparable to their recently revised values. However, the O_3 loss rates could be larger than deduced here because of underestimates of total O_3 by TOMS near the terminator. This uncertainty, together with the uncertainties associated with measurements acquired during the Airborne Antarctic Ozone Experiment, suggests that in early spring, closer to the vortex center, there may be even larger ClO concentrations than have yet been detected.

Additional Information

© 1990 American Association for the Advancement of Science. 24 October 1989; accepted 22 February 1990. We are grateful to R. Stolarski for providing TOMS data before publication and to P. Newman for sending us potential vorticity data. We thank K. K. Tung, R. Friedl, J. Rodriguez, M. Schoeberl, and R. L. Shia for illuminating discussions, S. Solomon for critical comments on systematic errors of TOMS data, and X.-L. Zhu for plotting all the graphs in this report. Part of the research described in this paper was carried out by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and was also supported by NASA grant NAGW-413 to the California Institute of Technology. Contribution number 4783 from the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology.

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