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Global Climate Change DigestArchives of the
Global Climate Change Digest

A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999



Item #d89apr1

Scientists were surprised by data from this winter's Airborne Arctic Stratospheric Experiment that show levels of chlorine monoxide much higher than predicted by theory, indicating the Arctic stratosphere is ripe for the same kind of ozone depletion observed in the Antarctic. The observations were made using two instrumented aircraft based in Stavanger, Norway and involved scientists and support from the United States, Britain, Norway and the Chemical Manufacturers Association. The presence of chlorine monoxide indicates the apparent role of polar stratospheric clouds in ozone destruction by chlorofluorocarbons. Reduced ozone levels were not observed, but ozone measurements from balloon- and satellite-borne instruments are being watched as the lengthening daylight hours increase the amount of sunlight necessary for the reactions to occur. Scientists are reluctant to conclude that this process accounts for the wintertime ozone depletion reported for the northern hemisphere last March by the International Ozone Trends Panel. However, Robert Watson, project director for the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, said the results indicate that the requirements of the Montreal Protocol should be strengthened. For more details see the following:

"Arctic Ozone Loss: Fact-Finding Mission Concludes Outlook is Bleak," P.M. Zurer, Chem. Eng. News, 29-31, Mar. 6, 1989. Includes details concerning stratospheric cloud types.

"Scientists Find Arctic May Face Ozone Hole," ibid., 5-6. Mission scientists testified before a U.S. Senate committee that a sudden appearance of an Arctic ozone hole can't be ruled out.

"Arctic Ozone Ripe for Depletion," Eos, p. 131, Feb. 29.

"Arctic Ozone Is Poised for a Fall," R.A. Kerr, Science, 1007-1008, Feb. 24. Concludes strengthening of the Protocol seems inevitable.

"Arctic Air Primed to Destroy Ozone," R. Monastersky, Sci. News, p. 116, Feb. 25.

"Is There an Ozone Hole Over the North Pole?" F. Pearce, I. Anderson, New Sci., 32-33, Feb. 25. Also describes independent results just announced by Canadian and U.S. scientists who detected polar stratospheric clouds from balloon measurements, as well as an area of decreased ozone considered unrelated to chemical depletion.

"Investigation of Ozone Hole in Arctic Begun by Team of Scientists, Technicians," Intl. Environ. Rptr., 55-57, Feb.

"Arctic Hole Eludes Ozone Investigators," R. Milne, New Sci., p. 24, Jan. 21. Gives details of early expedition difficulties.

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