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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  21 Jul 2020

21 Jul 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

First description and classification of the ozone hole over the Arctic in boreal spring 2020

Martin Dameris1, Diego G. Loyola2, Matthias Nützel1, Melanie Coldewey-Egbers2, Christophe Lerot3, Fabian Romahn2, and Michel van Roozendael3 Martin Dameris et al.
  • 1Deutsches Zentrum für Luft-und Raumfahrt, Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre, Oberpfaffenhofen, Weßling, Germany
  • 2Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, Institut für Methodik der Fernerkundung, Oberpfaffenhofen, Weßling, Germany
  • 3Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy, Uccle, Belgium

Abstract. Ozone data derived from the TROPOMI sensor onboard the Sentinel-5 Precursor satellite are showing an atypical ozone hole feature in the polar region of the Northern hemisphere (Arctic) in spring 2020. A persistent ozone hole pattern with minimum total ozone column values around or below 220 Dobson units (DU) was seen for the first time over the Arctic for about 5 weeks in March and early April 2020. Usually an ozone hole with such low total ozone column values has only been observed in the polar Southern hemisphere (Antarctic) in spring over the last 4 decades, but not over the Arctic. The ozone hole pattern was caused by a particularly stable polar vortex in the stratosphere, enabling a persistent cold stratosphere at higher latitudes, a prerequisite for ozone depletion through heterogeneous chemistry. Based on the ERA5 reanalysis from ECMWF, the Northern winter 2019/2020 (from December to March) showed minimum polar cap temperatures consistently below 195 K around 20 km altitude, which enabled enhanced formation of polar stratospheric clouds. The special situation in spring 2020 is compared and discussed in context with two other ozone hole-like features in spring 1997 and 2011 that were showing comparable dynamical conditions in the stratosphere in combination with low total ozone column values. However, during these years total ozone columns below 220 DU over larger areas and over several consecutive days have not been observed. The similarities and differences of the atmospheric conditions of these three events and possible explanations are presented and discussed. It becomes apparent that the monthly mean of the minimum total ozone column value for March 2020 (i.e. 221 DU) was clearly below the respective values found in March 1997 (i.e. 267 DU) and 2011 (i.e. 252 DU), which emphasizes the noteworthiness of the evolution of the polar stratospheric ozone layer in Northern hemisphere spring 2020. These results provide a first description and classification of the development of the Arctic ozone hole in boreal spring 2020 and highlight its peculiarity.

Martin Dameris et al.

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Martin Dameris et al.

Martin Dameris et al.


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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
An Arctic ozone hole was observed in March and early April 2020. Dynamical and chemical circumstances leading to the Arctic ozone hole are discussed and are compared to similar dynamical conditions in 1996/1997 and 2010/2011. 2019/2020 showed an unusual persistent strong polar vortex with low stratospheric temperatures, which were permanently below 195 K. This enabled enhanced formation of polar stratospheric clouds and in the following a clear reduction of total ozone in spring 2020.
An Arctic ozone hole was observed in March and early April 2020. Dynamical and chemical...