Disclaimer: This material is being kept online for historical purposes. Though accurate at the time of publication, it is no longer being updated. The page may contain broken links or outdated information, and parts may not function in current web browsers. Visit https://espo.nasa.gov for information about our current projects.


Record‐Low Arctic Stratospheric Ozone in 2020: MLS Observations of Chemical...

Manney, G. L., N. Livesey, M. Santee, L. Froidevaux, A. Lambert, Z. Lawrence, L. F. Millán, J. L. Neu, B. Read, M. Schwartz, and R. Fuller (2020), Record‐Low Arctic Stratospheric Ozone in 2020: MLS Observations of Chemical Processes and Comparisons With Previous Extreme Winters, Geophys. Res. Lett., 47, e2020GL089063, doi:10.1029/2020GL089063.

Aura Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) measurements show that chemical processing was critical to the observed record‐low Arctic stratospheric ozone in spring 2020. The 16‐year MLS record indicates more polar denitrification and dehydration in 2019/2020 than in any Arctic winter except 2015/2016. Chlorine activation and ozone depletion began earlier than in any previously observed winter, with evidence of chemical ozone loss starting in November. Active chlorine then persisted as late into spring as it did in 2011. Empirical estimates suggest maximum chemical ozone losses near 2.8 ppmv by late March in both 2011 and 2020. However, peak chlorine activation, and thus peak ozone loss, occurred at lower altitudes in 2020 than in 2011, leading to the lowest Arctic ozone values ever observed at potential temperature levels from ∼400–480 K, with similar ozone values to those in 2011 at higher levels.

PDF of Publication: 
Download from publisher's website.
Research Program: 
Atmospheric Composition Modeling and Analysis Program (ACMAP)
EOS Aura