Articles | Volume 6, issue 11
10 Aug 2006
10 Aug 2006

Polar tropospheric ozone depletion events observed in the International Geophysical Year of 1958

H. K. Roscoe and J. Roscoe

Abstract. The Royal Society expedition to Antarctica established a base at Halley Bay, in support of the International Geophysical Year of 1957–1958. Surface ozone was measured during 1958 only, using a prototype Brewer-Mast sonde. The envelope of maximum ozone was an annual cycle from 10 ppbv in January to 22 ppbv in August. These values are 35% less at the start of the year and 15% less at the end than modern values from Neumayer, also a coastal site. This may reflect a general increase in surface ozone since 1958 and differences in summer at the less windy site of Halley, or it may reflect ozone loss on the inlet together with long-term conditioning. There were short periods in September when ozone values decreased rapidly to near-zero, and some in August when ozone values were rapidly halved. Such ozone-loss episodes, catalysed by bromine compounds, became well-known in the Artic in the 1980s, and were observed more recently in the Antarctic. In 1958, very small ozone values were recorded for a week in midwinter during clear weather with light winds. The absence of similar midwinter reductions at Neumayer, or at Halley in the few measurements during 1987, means we must remain suspicious of these small values, but we can find no obvious reason to discount them. The dark reaction of ozone and seawater ice observed in the laboratory may be fast enough to explain them if the salinity and surface area of the ice is sufficiently amplified by frost flowers.

Final-revised paper