Four decades of ozonesonde measurements over Antarctica

Susan Solomon, Robert W. Portmann, Toru Sasaki, David J. Hofmann, David W. J. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Citations (Scopus)


Ozonesonde observations from Syowa and the South Pole over more than 40 years are described and intercompared. Observations from the two sites reveal remarkable agreement, supporting and extending the understanding gained from either individually. Both sites exhibit extensive Antarctic ozone losses in a relatively narrow altitude range from about 12 to 24 km in October, and the data are consistent with temperature-dependent chemistry involving chlorine on polar stratospheric clouds as the cause of the ozone hole. The maximum October ozone losses at higher altitudes near 18 km (70 hPa) appear to be transported to lower levels near the tropopause on a timescale of a few months, which is likely to affect the timing of the effects of ozone depletion on possible tropospheric climate changes. Both sites also show greater ozone losses in the lowermost stratosphere after the volcanic eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, supporting the view that surface chemistry can be enhanced by volcanic perturbations and that the very deep ozone holes observed in the early 1990s reflected such enhancements. Sparse data from the Syowa station in the early 1980s also suggest that enhanced ozone losses due to the El Chichon eruption may have contributed to the beginning of a measurable ozone hole. Observations at both locations show that some ozone depletion now occurs during much if not all year at lower altitudes near 12–14 km. Correlations between temperature and ozone provide new insights into ozone losses, including its nonlinear character, maximum effectiveness, and utility as a tool to distinguish dynamical effects from chemical processes. These data also show that recent changes in ozone do not yet indicate ozone recovery linked to changing chlorine abundances but provide new tools to probe observations for the first such future signals.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Issue numberD21
Early online date12 Nov 2005
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2005

Cite this