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Global Climate Change Digest

A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999



Item #d96dec61

Ozone depletion over Antarctica set in early and rapidly this year, seeming to fulfill a prediction that it would break all records. A brief note in Nature (p. 129, Sep. 12, 1996), by atmospheric chemist David Hoffmann of NOAA, predicted that this year's depletion would be especially severe because of the influence of an alternate-year fluctuation in stratospheric winds, known as the quasi-biennial oscillation. Observed ozone loss was unusually rapid in August, breaking records in some Antarctic locations for low values so early in the Southern Hemisphere spring. However, in the first week of September, wind patterns started to distort and weaken the polar vortex, hindering ozone destruction. The lowest level of total ozone recorded by a NASA satellite this year was 111 Dobson Units, compared to the record low of 88 Dobson Units measured in 1994.

(See New Scientist, p. 6, Sep. 28, 1996, and p. 6, Oct. 12; Science News, p. 246, Oct. 19; Global Environ. Change Rep., p. 5, Nov. 8.)

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