Earth  ID: 1203

TOMS Ozone at the South Pole: September Averages from 1979 through 2000

The year 2000's Antarctic ozone hole is the largest ever observed. Scientists continue to investigate the phenomenon, and are somewhat surprised by its scale. Using data from NASA's Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) instrument onboard the Earth Probe satellite, researchers can evaluate and compare current conditions over the south pole to readings taken by other instruments in years past. Continued monitoring of polar ozone levels helps researchers gain a better understanding of how the planet's climate may be changing. The following animation shows how ozone loss at the south pole has grown since the mid-80s. Early readings over Antarctica indicate little or no ozone depletion beyond naturally predicted levels. But as the 80s and 90s progress, a clear change in atmospheric chemistry takes place at the bottom of the world. The hole starts small in the late 80s and spreads as subsequent winter cycles break apart ozone molecules.

Visualization Credits

Greg Shirah (NASA/GSFC): Lead Animator
Paul Newman (NASA/GSFC): Scientist
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

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Data Used:
Earth Probe/TOMS/Total Ozone
September Averages 1996-2000
Meteor-3/TOMS/Total Ozone
September Averages 1991-1994
Nimbus-7/TOMS/Total Ozone
September Averages 1979-1992
Note: While we identify the data sets used in these visualizations, we do not store any further details nor the data sets themselves on our site.

This item is part of this series:
Stratospheric Ozone

Goddard TV Tape:

DLESE >> Atmospheric science
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Atmosphere >> Atmospheric Chemistry/Oxygen Compounds >> Ozone
NASA Science >> Earth

GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation: Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version