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Antarctic Ozone Hole Roars Back

EP/TOMS Total Ozone for Sept 15, 2003
Geneva - Sep 17, 2003
Measurements over and near Antarctica show that ozone is decreasing more rapidly this year than in previous years and that the size of the ozone hole is now as large as the all time record size of 28 million sq. km during September 2000. This is in stark contrast to the ozone hole last year when it was the smallest in more than a decade after splitting in two during late September.

In recent years, the ozone hole is at or near its maximum size during mid-September, with the maximum sometimes reached in late September. It cannot be predicted with certainty whether the ozone hole will continue to grow during the next few weeks.

Recent variations in size, depth and persistence of the ozone hole are due to year-to-year changes in meteorological conditions in the lower stratosphere over Antarctica, rather than changes in the amount of ozone depleting chemicals present in the ozone layer.

The use of ozone depleting chemicals is presently being controlled through the enforcement of international agreements. Measurements show that most of these chemicals are decreasing in the lower atmosphere and they appear to have reached their peak in the critically important ozone layer in the stratosphere.

There is a delay in the cleansing of these chemicals from the ozone layer, and it is expected to require decades before the stratosphere returns to pre-ozone hole conditions. Complete recovery of the ozone layer will require continuing diligence with the enforcement of the international agreements.

In recognition of the importance of international co-operation on environmental issues and to commemorate the date of the signing of the Montreal Protocol in 1987, 16 September has been designated by the United Nations as International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer.

On this occasion, Prof. G.O.P. Obasi, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization urged all nations to pursue their efforts in the monitoring of the chemical composition of the atmosphere and in the implementation of the Vienna Convention on the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the Montreal Protocol and Amendments on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.

Related Links
Ozone Bulletins at WMO
Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer
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Atmospheric Bromine, Which Attacks Ozone Layer, Is Decreasing
 Washington - Sep 01, 2003
Researchers have discovered that total bromine in the lower atmosphere has been decreasing since 1998 and is now more than five percent below the peak reached that year. Bromine is one of the most active destroyers of the stratospheric ozone layer, which forms an invisible shield around the Earth, protecting it from the biologically damaging ultraviolet rays of the Sun.

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