Antarctic ozone recovery


  • R. P. KANE



Antarctic ozone hole, QBO, QTO


Since 1976, and more so since 1985, the Antarctic ozone level has suffered considerable depletion (termed as Antarctic ozone hole), attributed to the destructive effects of CFC compounds leaking into the atmosphere from man-made gadgets. The 12-month running means of South Pole Dobson ozone (monthly means, upto 1999 end only) were subjected to spectral analysis, which showed considerable, significant amplitudes for QBO (Quasi-biennial, 2-3 years) and QTO (Quasi-triennial, 3-4 years) oscillations, with a total range of 20-30 DU. When subtracted from the original values, a fairly smooth variation was seen, with a decrease from ~260 DU in 1986 to ~230 DU in 1996 (~12% decrease in 12-month running means), and an almost steady level thereafter. Thus, the net ozone variation at South Pole consists of two parts, (i) a long-term monotonically downward trend upto 1996 and a steady level thereafter and            (ii) a superposed QBO-QTO oscillation. The chemical destruction effect is not likely to disappear soon, and may even increase if greenhouse effects, major volcanic eruptions or enhanced stratospheric cooling intervene. If the long-term level   (i) remains steady, an extrapolation of the QBO-QTO patterns indicates that the ozone level is due for an increase from about 1999 end to about 2001 beginning. The purpose of the present analysis is to point out that, if such an increase of 20-30 DU occurs, it should not be misinterpreted as due to a decrease in chemical destruction, which scientists are eagerly awaiting due to the indication of a reduction in the halogen load in recent years due to adherence to the Montreal Protocol. After one or two years (in 2002), the extrapolated QBO-QTO oscillation may bring down the ozone level back again to the 1999 end level, and the apparent recovery may turn out to be a false signal.




How to Cite

R. P. . KANE, “Antarctic ozone recovery”, MAUSAM, vol. 53, no. 4, pp. 487–502, Oct. 2002.



Research Papers