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Interhemispheric Differences in Polar Stratospheric HNO3, H2O, CIO, and O3

, : Interhemispheric Differences in Polar Stratospheric HNO3, H2O, CIO, and O3. Science 267(5199): 849-852

Simultaneous global measurements of nitric acid (HNO(3)), water (H(2)O), chlorine monoxide (CIO), and ozone (O(3)) in the stratosphere have been obtained over complete annual cycles in both hemispheres by the Microwave Limb Sounder on the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite. A sizeable decrease in gas-phase HNO(3) was evident in the lower stratospheric vortex over Antarctica by early June 1992, followed by a significant reduction in gas-phase H(2)O after mid-July. By mid-August, near the time of peak CIO, abundances of gas-phase HNO(3) and H(2)O were extremely low. The concentrations of HNO(3) and H(2)O over Antarctica remained depressed into November, well after temperatures in the lower stratosphere had risen above the evaporation threshold for polar stratospheric clouds, implying that denitrification and dehydration had occurred. No large decreases in either gas-phase HNO(3) or H(2)O were observed in the 1992-1993 Arctic winter vortex. Although CIO was enhanced over the Arctic as it was over the Antarctic, Arctic O(3) depletion was substantially smaller than that over Antarctica. A major factor currently limiting the formation of an Arctic ozone "hole" is the lack of denitrification in the northern polar vortex, but future cooling of the lower stratosphere could lead to more intense denitrification and consequently larger losses of Arctic ozone.


PMID: 17813911

DOI: 10.1126/science.267.5199.849

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