NOAA Image of the Day

Cold Antarctic Winters Magnify Ozone Loss

Cold Antarctic Winters Magnify Ozone Loss

The Antarctic ozone hole reached its maximum size on September 11, 2014, according to NOAA and NASA scientists. This image, using NOAA satellite data, shows the ozone hole (areas below 220 Dobson units) in shades of red. At 9.3 million square miles (24.1 million square kilometers), the hole was roughly the same as in 2013. Even though the average concentration of ozone-destroying chlorofluorcarbons (CFCs) have been declining around the globe, the remaining compounds can still have large impacts on the Antarctic ozone hole, especially during the late winter months of August and September. This accompanying image shows the average temperature of the stratosphere (at 50 millibar pressure height) for the preceding month of August. Areas colored blue indicate temperatures below -78°C, which are of special concern since it is at these temperatures that the breakdown of ozone by chlorine molecules becomes exacerbated.

More information on the 2014 ozone hole can be found at climate.gov or the NOAA news story. A full archive of ozone imagery can also be browsed in NOAA View.

For an unlabeled version, click here.

High Resolution Image

Courtesy of NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory