Chemical Loss of Ozone in the Arctic Polar Vortex in the Winter of 1991-1992

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Science  27 Aug 1993:
Vol. 261, Issue 5125, pp. 1146-1149
DOI: 10.1126/science.261.5125.1146


In situ measurements of chlorine monoxide, bromine monoxide, and ozone are extrapolated globally, with the use of meteorological tracers, to infer the loss rates for ozone in the Arctic lower stratosphere during the Airborne Arctic Stratospheric Expedition II (AASE II) in the winter of 1991-1992. The analysis indicates removal of 15 to 20 percent of ambient ozone because of elevated concentrations of chlorine monoxide and bromine monoxide. Observations during AASE II define rates of removal of chlorine monoxide attributable to reaction with nitrogen dioxide (produced by photolysis of nitric acid) and to production of hydrochloric acid. Ozone loss ceased in March as concentrations of chlorine monoxide declined. Ozone losses could approach 50 percent if regeneration of nitrogen dioxide were inhibited by irreversible removal of nitrogen oxides (denitrification), as presently observed in the Antarctic, or without denitrification if inorganic chlorine concentrations were to double.