Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

NCAR Scientists Seek Ozone-Hole Clues During Largest Campaign Ever in Arctic Stratosphere

January 17, 2000
National Center For Atmospheric Research (NCAR)
National Center for Atmospheric Research scientists are participating in the largest international project ever mounted to study ozone in the Arctic stratosphere. Recent observations of very low levels of ozone have prompted researchers to make detailed measurements of upper atmosphere chemistry and dynamics in this under-studied region.

BOULDER -- This winter a team of scientists from the National Center forAtmospheric Research (NCAR) is part of the largest international projectever mounted to measure levels of ozone and learn more about itslifecycle in the upper atmosphere of the Arctic. Prompted byobservations of very low levels of ozone in the Arctic stratosphere inrecent winters, scientists from the United States, Europe, Russia, andJapan are hoping to explain the ozone loss by making detailedmeasurements of the chemistry and dynamics of this under-studied region.

The SAGE III Ozone Loss and Validation Experiment, sponsored by theNational Aeronautics and Space Administration, is being conductedjointly with the European Commission-sponsored Third EuropeanStratospheric Experiment on Ozone. With some 350 scientistsparticipating, SOLVE/THESEO-2000 is the largest stratospheric fieldmission ever conducted, according to project manager Michael Craig ofNASA's Ames Research Center. NCAR's primary sponsor is the NationalScience Foundation.

Begun in the Arctic darkness of November and continuing through March asthe sun climbs higher above the horizon, the mission is timed to capturechemical changes in the stratosphere brought about by interaction withincreasing solar radiation. As temperatures fall during Arctic winter,polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs) can form. A complex series of chemicalreactions on the surface of PSC cloud particles frees up active chlorineand bromine, which react with sunlight to catalyze ozone destructionwhen the sun returns in early spring. The sources of chlorine andbromine are human-produced chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and halocarbons.The colder the Arctic spring, the longer the clouds linger and the moreozone loss. Scientists need to understand the complex interactions amongsolar radiation, temperature, water, CFCs, aerosol particles, and polarstratospheric clouds before predictions of ozone loss in the NorthernHemisphere can become more reliable.

An array of research instruments aboard NASA's DC-8 and ER-2 aircraft istaking measurements in flight and bringing back air samples for testingin the lab. NCAR researchers William Mankin and Michael Coffey developedtechniques for using a spectrometer aboard the DC-8 to measure amountsof chlorine, nitrogen-containing gases, CFCs, ozone, and otherstratospheric gases important to polar ozone chemistry. They expect theinstrument to also detect the infrared signature of polar stratosphericclouds, allowing them to determine cloud structure and composition. Alsoaboard the DC-8, Richard Shetter's spectroradiometers are gathering dataon photolysis (sunlight-produced chemical changes) of 15 differentmolecules important to the production and destruction of ozone. Histeam's measurements of actinic flux, which serves as a tracer ofphotolysis, are the first to be made in the Arctic stratosphere.

The ER-2 is carrying an instrument developed by Darrel Baumgardner,Bruce Gandrud, and colleagues to determine the size and concentration ofPSC cloud particles from 0.3 to 20 micrometers (thousandths of amillimeter) in diameter. A whole air sampler is collecting and storingup to 32 air samples per ER-2 flight. The samples are shipped the sameweek to NCAR, where Elliot Atlas is analyzing them using severaldifferent gas chromatographs to look for halocarbons, hydrocarbons, andorganic nitrates.

Several European aircraft are also participating, and additionalmeasurements will be taken by instruments carried up to 100,000 feetaloft by research balloons. Instruments on the ground in Sweden andNorway will round out the profile of the Arctic stratosphere. SOLVEscientists are based above the Arctic Circle at the airport in Kiruna,Sweden, where winter temperatures can reach -50_ Fahrenheit or lower.

The stratosphere ranges from about 30,000 to 180,000 feet in altitude.Ozone in the stratosphere acts as a protective layer, keeping most ofthe sun's ultraviolet radiation from reaching the earth, where it causesdamage to people and other living things. Most of the ozone in thestratosphere is concentrated between 50,000 and 100,000 feet--withinrange of SOLVE's aircraft and balloons.

The Antarctic ozone hole and its causes made news in the 1980s.International efforts to reduce manufacture of ozone-destroying CFCsculminated in a production ban for industrialized countries in 1996. TheArctic ozone layer seemed unaffected; ozone concentrations werenaturally higher there, and relatively warmer Arctic temperatures stayedabove the levels necessary for CFCs to interfere with ozone chemistry.In the late 1990s, however, scientists detected dramatically lowerlevels of ozone over the Arctic, raising concerns about the possibilityof a second ozone hole above the North Pole.

NCAR is managed by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research,a consortium of more than 60 universities offering Ph.D.s in atmosphericand related sciences.

-The End-

Note to Editors: Journalists are invited to the main field stagingarea in Kiruna, Sweden, during media week, January 21-28. Members ofmost of the science teams, including NCAR's, will be on hand. A newsroomwill operate in the Scandic Hotel Ferrum near the airport. Duringescorted tours into the research area, journalists may meet withscientists. Contact for media week is Chris Rink--before January 22:NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia, phone: 757-864-6786,fax: 757-864-6333, e-mail: c.p.rink@express.larc.nasa.gov;January 21-28: NASA newsroom, Kiruna, Sweden, phone: 011 46-980-398-787,fax: 011 46-980-398-788, e-mail: c.p.rink@express.larc.nasa.gov.

Writer: Zhenya Gallon

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Center For Atmospheric Research (NCAR). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Cite This Page:

National Center For Atmospheric Research (NCAR). "NCAR Scientists Seek Ozone-Hole Clues During Largest Campaign Ever in Arctic Stratosphere." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 January 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000114173651.htm>.
National Center For Atmospheric Research (NCAR). (2000, January 17). NCAR Scientists Seek Ozone-Hole Clues During Largest Campaign Ever in Arctic Stratosphere. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000114173651.htm
National Center For Atmospheric Research (NCAR). "NCAR Scientists Seek Ozone-Hole Clues During Largest Campaign Ever in Arctic Stratosphere." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000114173651.htm (accessed August 29, 2014).

Share This

More Earth & Climate News

Friday, August 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Have Figured Out Why Rocks Move In Death Valley

Scientists Have Figured Out Why Rocks Move In Death Valley

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) The mystery of the moving rocks in Death Valley, California, has finally been solved. Scientists are pointing to a combo of water, ice and wind. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Big Waves, Minor Flooding from Hurricane

Big Waves, Minor Flooding from Hurricane

AP (Aug. 27, 2014) Thundering surf spawned by Hurricane Marie pounded the Southern California coast Wednesday, causing minor flooding in a low-lying beach town. High surf warnings were posted for Los Angeles County south through Orange County. (Aug. 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Calif. Quake Underscores Need for Early Warning

Calif. Quake Underscores Need for Early Warning

AP (Aug. 26, 2014) Researchers at UC Berkeley are testing a prototype of an earthquake early warning system that California is pursuing years after places like Mexico and Japan already have them up and running. (August 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.


Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News


Free Subscriptions

Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile

Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?

Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins