Ozone Hole Meteorology: 2003 Ozone
The depth and area of the ozone hole are primarily governed by amounts of chlorine and bromine in the Antarctic stratosphere. Very low temperatures are needed to form polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs). Chlorine gases react on the surface of these PSCs to release chlorine into a form that can easily destroy ozone. The chlorine and bromine chemical catalytic reactions that destroy ozone need sunlight. Hence, the ozone hole begins to grow as the sun is rising over Antarctica at the end of the winter.
The ozone hole begins to grow in August and reaches its largest area in depth in the middle of September to early October period. In the early years (before 1984) the hole was small because chlorine and bromine levels over Antarctica were low. Year-to-year variations in area and depth are caused by year-to-year variations in temperature. Colder conditions result in a larger area and lower ozone values in the center of the hole.
Comparison to all years
The following figures show the daily progression through the ozone hole season, comparing the current year to the climatology of all other years.
-- click on a link for a PDF figure --