21 Oct 2022
21 Oct 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

South Pole Station ozonesondes: variability and trends in the springtime Antarctic ozone hole 1986–2021

Bryan J. Johnson1, Patrick Cullis2,1, John Booth1,, Irina Petropavlovskikh2,1, Glen McConville2,1, Birgit Hassler3, Gary A. Morris1, Chance Sterling2,4, and Samuel Oltmans1 Bryan J. Johnson et al.
  • 1Global Monitoring Laboratory Earth System Research Laboratory, NOAA, Boulder, CO, 80305 USA
  • 2Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 3Deutsches Zentrum für Luft & Raumfahrt (DLR), Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre,, Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany
  • 4C&D Technologies/Trojan Battery Company, Horsham, PA, 19044 USA
  • deceased

Abstract. Balloon-borne ozonesondes launched weekly from South Pole station (1986–2021) measure high vertical resolution profiles of ozone and temperature from surface to 30–35 km altitude. The launch frequency is increased in late winter before the onset of rapid stratospheric ozone loss in September. Ozone hole metrics show the yearly total column ozone and 14–21 km column ozone minimum values and September loss rates remain on an upward (less severe) trend since 2001. However, the data series also illustrate interannual variability, especially in the last three years (2019–2021). Here we show additional details of these three years by comparing minimum ozone profiles and the July–December 14–21 km column ozone time series. The 2019 anomalous vortex breakdown showed stratospheric temperatures began warming in early September leading to reduced ozone loss. The minimum total column ozone of 180 Dobson Units (DU) was observed on 24 September. This was followed by two stable and cold polar vortex years in 2020 and 2021 with total column ozone minimums at 104 DU (01 October) and 102 DU (07 October), respectively. These years also showed broad zero ozone (saturation loss) regions within the 14–21 km layer by the end of September which persisted into October.

Validation of the ozonesonde observations is conducted through the ongoing comparison of total column ozone (TCO) measurements with the South Pole ground-based Dobson spectrophotometer. The ozonesondes show a constant positive offset of 2 ± 3 % (higher) than the Dobson following a thorough evaluation/homogenization of the ozonesonde record in 2018.

Bryan J. Johnson et al.

Status: open (until 02 Dec 2022)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on acp-2022-689', Anonymous Referee #1, 17 Nov 2022 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on acp-2022-689', Anonymous Referee #2, 26 Nov 2022 reply

Bryan J. Johnson et al.

Bryan J. Johnson et al.


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Short summary
In 1986, soon after the discovery of the Antarctic ozone hole, NOAA began year-round ozonesonde observations at South Pole Station to measure vertical profiles of ozone and temperature from the surface to 35 km. Balloon-borne ozonesondes launched at this unique site allows for tracking all phases of the yearly springtime ozone hole beginning in late winter and after sunrise, when rapid ozone depletion begins over South Pole throughout the month of September.