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Nimbus 7 satellite measurements of the springtime Antarctic ozone decrease


Farman et al.1 have reported a rapid decrease, since their measurements started in 1957, of the total column amount of ozone in late winter and early spring over the Halley Bay station in Antarctica (76° S, 27° W). The decrease was most pronounced in October, early spring in the Southern Hemisphere. They attributed the decrease to the increase in stratospheric chlorine due to chloro-fluorocarbon release, and proposed that the unique conditions of extreme cold and low sunlight in the Antarctic winter and spring enhanced the effect. We report measurements from the Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet (SBUV) instrument and the Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) aboard the Nimbus 7 satellite, a Sun-synchronous polar-orbiting satellite which passes any given point on the dayside near local noon. These provide global measurements of ozone from November 1978 to the present which confirm the reported decline of total ozone and show the phenomenon to be regional in extent. The decrease occurs during September as the Sun rises, reaching a minimum in mid-October. Seven years (1979–1985) of October monthly means show a 40% decrease in the ozone minimum and a 20% decrease in the surrounding ozone maximum.

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Stolarski, R., Krueger, A., Schoeberl, M. et al. Nimbus 7 satellite measurements of the springtime Antarctic ozone decrease. Nature 322, 808–811 (1986).

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