A Gaping Hole in the Ozone Hole…

The annual thinning of the ozone layer over Antarctica is an artifact of the polar winter.  Although it is claimed that the ozone hole didn’t exist prior to the 1980’s… It has occurred during every Antarctic spring in which anyone was trying to measure it. 

Ozone in the upper atmosphere is created when UV radiation from the Sun strikes oxygen molecules.  This leads to the creation of ozone.  The ozone layer doesn’t so much act as sunscreen as it acts like reactive armor.  During the Antarctic winter very little sunlight hits the upper atmosphere over Antarctica and the Antarctic polar vortex prevents much in the way of atmospheric mixing between the polar and higher latitude air masses.  This leads to an annual depletion of Antarctic ozone from mid-August through mid-October (late winter to mid spring).  As the Antarctic spring transitions to summer, there is more exposure to sunlight and the ozone layer is replenished. 

This process has occurred since the dawn of continuous ozone measurements in 1986.  NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory / Global Monitoring Division features a very disingenuous chart on their ozone page

NOAA ESRL/GMD South Pole Ozone

The NOAA ESRL/GMD chart implies that the annual ozone hole did not exist during an earlier period of measurements from 1967-1971.  This is wrong.  The actual data from 1967-1971 clearly show that the annual ozone hole did exist.  It may have been less pronounced at higher altitudes and it may have bottomed out in September rather than October; but it did exist.  At low altitude (200 MB and 400 MB) it was nearly identical to the present-day… 

Comparison of 1967-1971 and 1986-1991 Antarctic ozone (Oltmans et al., 1994)

There are a lot of reasons why earlier measurements differ from the modern data: 

1.  The older data were sparsely sampled (1/4 the number of profiles) and the earlier ozonesonde balloons rarely, if ever, reached higher altitudes (40 MB and 25 MB). 

2.  The error bars of the two data sets almost overlap. 

3.  Natural climate oscillations.  1967-1971 was during a period of global cooling.  1986-1991 was during a period of global warming.  Without having a continuous series of profiles across a full wavelength of the ~60-yr PDO/ENSO cycle, it’s impossible to know if the annual ozone depletion has a cyclical nature. 

4. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC’s).  It is possible that CFC’s did exaggerate the Antarctic ozone hole.  However, the data clearly show that CFC’s did not create it.

The ozone hole scare cost many people a lot of money.  Refrigerating fluids, particularly in automobile air conditioners, had to be replaced.  If you were the owner of a 1980’s motor vehicle in need of air conditioner repairs in the 1990’s, you may as well have traded your vehicle in; because the cost of repairs became almost prohibitive due to new environmental regulations related to CFC’s.

The economic cost of this particular chapter of environmental junk science was minuscule in comparison to that of the current environmental swindle (anthropogenic global warming)… But this should serve as one more reminder that no one ever bothered to check the work of these Enviromarxist con men prior to Steve McIntyre’s debunking of Mann’s Hockey Stick.

References:

Data Visualization >> South Pole Ozone Hole >> South Pole Total Column Ozone

Oltmans, S. J.; Hofmann, D. J.; Komhyr, W. D.; Lathrop, J. A.  Ozone vertical profile changes over South Pole.  NASA. Goddard Space Flight Center, Ozone in the Troposphere and Stratosphere, Part 2, p 578-581

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6 Responses to “A Gaping Hole in the Ozone Hole…”

  1. jmcooper Says:

    Unfortunately, today the man who is said to have saved the ozone layer is being celebrated today, none other than F. Sherwood Rowland. I thought this crab was debunked, but the media still brings it up for all the stupid people that believed we could stop anything like the contraction and the expansion of the ozone layer.
    I guess that is what you get from a bunch of agenda driven scientist, that just want another grant to fund their false data.

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  3. ferd berple Says:

    Funny how the CFC ozone scare was timed to exactly match the expiration of the Dupont patent on CFC’s. Lucky for Dupont they were able to get CFC’s banned as their patent ran out, and we were forced to buy the “better” CFC replacements – again for Dupont. What an amazing co-incidence.

  4. Jamal Munshi Says:

    It is a “hole” in the sense that the depletion of atmospheric ozone is localized above the South Pole. This means that the claim that there is an ozone hole over the South Pole implies that there is no appreciable ozone depletion elsewhere. There is now (2015) some evidence that ozone levels above the South Pole have stabilized and may be recovering since 2007 although it is not possible to ascribe the recovery to the ban on HFC because that recovery is not due until 2035. A study of atmospheric total column ozone data from five ground stations for the period 1957 to 2014 with some interesting graphics that highlight seasonal variation and deseasonalized long term trends, may be found in a document posted online.
    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2612810

  5. Jamal Munshi Says:

    no evidence of ozone depletion
    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2725743

  6. Jamal Munshi Says:

    sorry, wrong link in previous comment.
    here is the link to the absence of evidence for ozone depletion
    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2748016

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