2002 Versus 2001 Ozone Hole

December 13, 2002


Provided by: NASA/GSFC
Summary authors & editors: Jim Foster, GSFC Home Page

The above two images show the ozone hole in September of 2001 versus September of this year. The 'hole' itself is dark blue and magenta. In 2001, the ozone layer thinning over Antarctica reached 26.5 million square kilometers, larger than the size of the entire North American continent. Due to higher Antarctic winter temperatures in the stratosphere, resulting from an increase of upper atmospheric planetary waves, the 2002 'hole' seems to be about 40% smaller.

A greater number of large planetary waves in the atmosphere, moving from the lower atmosphere into the upper atmosphere, were responsible for the smaller Antarctic ozone hole this fall, according to Dr. Paul Newman at GSFC/NASA. However, it should be noted that these large-scale weather patterns in the Earth's atmosphere are not necessarily an indication that the ozone layer is recovering.

Related Links: