Rate of formation of the ClO dimer in the polar stratosphere: implications for ozone loss

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Science  08 Sep 1989:
Vol. 245, Issue 4922, pp. 1095-1098
DOI: 10.1126/science.245.4922.1095


The gas-phase recombination of chlorine monoxide (ClO) has been investigated under the conditions of pressure and temperature that prevail in the Antarctic stratosphere during the period of maximum ozone (O3) disappearance. Measured rate constants are less than one-half as great as the previously accepted values. One-dimensional model calculations based on the new rate data indicate that currently accepted chemical mechanisms can quantitatively account for the observed O3 losses in late spring (17 September to 7 October). A qualitative assessment indicates that the existing mechanisms can only account for at most one-half of the measured O3 depletion in the early spring (28 August to 17 September), indicating that there may be additional catalytic cycles, besides those currently recognized, that destroy O3.