Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

NASA study sheds light on ozone hole chemistry

Date:
May 3, 2010
Source:
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Summary:
A new NASA study of Earth's polar ozone layer reinforces scientists' understanding of how human-produced chlorine chemicals involved in the destruction of ozone interact with each other.

Map of chlorine monoxide, the primary agent of ozone destruction in the Antarctic 'ozone hole,' as measured by the Microwave Limb Sounder instrument on NASA's Aura satellite at an altitude of approximately 18 kilometers (11.2 miles) within the ozone layer. Image credit:
Credit: NASA/JPL

A new NASA study of Earth's polar ozone layer reinforces scientists' understanding of how human-produced chlorine chemicals involved in the destruction of ozone interact with each other.

A team of scientists led by Michelle Santee of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., examined how nighttime temperatures affect chlorine monoxide, a key chemical involved in ozone destruction. Combining NASA satellite measurements with a state-of-the-art chemical model, they found this relationship to be more consistent with recent laboratory work than with some older laboratory and field observational data. This verification is important, because scientists have not been able to conduct appropriate laboratory experiments relevant to understanding how polar chlorine monoxide behaves at night at the lowest temperatures of the stratosphere, Earth's second lowest atmospheric layer.

Santee and her team published their findings this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The data came from the Microwave Limb Sounder instrument on NASA's Aura satellite.

"Our comprehensive study uses multiple years of Arctic and Antarctic satellite observations to quantify the nighttime balance of ozone-destroying chlorine chemical compounds," said Santee. "By gaining a better knowledge of this balance, scientists will be able to make more accurate predictions of polar ozone loss, especially in twilight and in the Arctic, where conditions are often only marginally favorable for ozone destruction."

At night, chlorine monoxide molecules combine to form chlorine peroxide, and the balance between these two chemicals is highly temperature-sensitive. Studying this balance quantitatively is challenging. Previous studies in the laboratory and using aircraft and satellites had found significantly different degrees of balance. The Microwave Limb Sounder's very large number of measurements has quantified this balance far better than before.

The new research contributes to scientific understanding of the phenomenon more commonly known as the "ozone hole." Each year in late winter and early spring in the southern hemisphere, chlorine and bromine from human-produced compounds cause the nearly total destruction of ozone in Earth's stratosphere in a layer about 20 kilometers (12 miles) above Antarctica. These source gases that are responsible for the greatest destruction of the ozone layer are now declining in response to the 1985 Montreal Protocol and its amendments.

Since its launch in 2004, the Microwave Limb Sounder has monitored most of the polar regions of both hemispheres daily, compiling tens of thousands of measurements of nighttime chlorine monoxide levels, along with various other chemicals, including ozone. These data are allowing scientists to test their understanding of chlorine-related chemistry on an unprecedented scale.

For more information on the Microwave Limb Sounder, see http://mls.jpl.nasa.gov/ .


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "NASA study sheds light on ozone hole chemistry." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 May 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100503010957.htm>.
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (2010, May 3). NASA study sheds light on ozone hole chemistry. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100503010957.htm
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "NASA study sheds light on ozone hole chemistry." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100503010957.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Federal researchers are exploring more than a dozen underwater sites where they believe ships sank in the treacherous waters west of San Francisco in the decades following the Gold Rush. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Isolated N. Korea Asks For International Help With Volcano

Isolated N. Korea Asks For International Help With Volcano

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) Mount Paektu volcano in North Korea is showing signs of life and there's not much known about it. Video provided by Newsy
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.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    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