NOAA Image of the Day
Cold Antarctic Winters Magnify Ozone Loss
The Antarctic ozone hole reached its maximum size on September 11, 2014, according to NOAA and NASA scientists. This image, using NOAA satellite data, shows the ozone hole (areas below 220 Dobson units) in shades of red. At 9.3 million square miles (24.1 million square kilometers), the hole was roughly the same as in 2013. Even though the average concentration of ozone-destroying chlorofluorcarbons (CFCs) have been declining around the globe, the remaining compounds can still have large impacts on the Antarctic ozone hole, especially during the late winter months of August and September. This accompanying image shows the average temperature of the stratosphere (at 50 millibar pressure height) for the preceding month of August. Areas colored blue indicate temperatures below -78°C, which are of special concern since it is at these temperatures that the breakdown of ozone by chlorine molecules becomes exacerbated.
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Courtesy of NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory