Spatial variation of ozone depletion rates in the springtime Antarctic polar vortex

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Science  11 May 1990:
Vol. 248, Issue 4956, pp. 721-724
DOI: 10.1126/science.11538181


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 O3. 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) O3 fluctuations in the collar and for upwelling of tropospheric air in late spring. A simplified photochemical model of O3 loss and the temporal evolution of the area-mapped polar O3 are used to constrain the chlorine monoxide (ClO) concentrations in the springtime Antarctic vortex. The concentrations required to account for the observed loss of O3 are higher than those previously reported by Anderson et al. but are comparable to their recently revised values. However, the O3 loss rates could be larger than deduced here because of underestimates of total O3 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.

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