12 September, 2003

14.00 ? 17.00. Lecture Theatre B03, Peel Building, University of Salford Embargo ? 09.30 hrs 12 September 2003 11 Sept 2003 PR No.9/2003 Satellite observations (NOAA) suggest that this year’s ozone hole is so far one of the biggest on record. The annual ?hole? has grown rapidly during August and now covers some 27 million square kilometres, larger than it has ever been at this time in early September. At the British Antarctic Survey?s Halley Research Station ground-based ozone observations have commenced with the return of sunlight. These initial values are around 40% down on those measured before the ozone ?hole? and are comparable to those over the last decade. Speaking at the British Association Annual Science Festival, Dr Alan Rodger of BAS said, ?We think we are turning the corner but we predict that it will be a decade or more before we can say unambiguously that the ozone hole is recovering – assuming that the decline in ozone depleting chemicals continues. Last year’s smaller ozone hole should be regarded as exceptional and was clearly a one off event in the record so far.? Recent measurements at ground-based monitoring stations around the world show that the loading of ozone destroying chemicals at the surface has been dropping since about 1994 and is now about 6% down on that peak. The stratosphere, on the other hand, lags behind the surface by several years and the loading of ozone depleting chemicals in the ozone layer is at or near its peak. Satellite measurements show that although the rate of decline in ozone amount in the upper stratosphere is slowing, the total ozone amount is still declining.

Issued by BAS Press Office: Linda Capper tel: 01223 221448, mobile: 07714 233744, email l.capper@bas.ac.uk or Athena Dinar tel: 01223 221414, mobile: 07740 822229 email: a.dinar@bas.ac.uk

Further details from Jonathan Shanklin, BAS. Tel 01223 221482 Dr Alan Rodger can be contacted at the BA Festival on Friday 12 September ? contact BA Press Officer Craig Brierley. 0161 295 6396.

Notes to Editors:

BAS scientists measure ozone all year round from Rothera Research Station and from spring to autumn at Halley Research Station. At Rothera, ground-based equipment and balloons launched into the atmosphere reveal that there has been a rapid decline in ozone amount during August. The observation season at Halley has just commenced. Ozone depleting chemicals include CFCs, halons and methyl bromide. Useful weblinks: (these will open in a new browser window) http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/met/jds/ozone/index.html http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/met/jds/ozone/ozpamw7.htm http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/stratosphere/polar/gif_files/ozone_hole_plot.png

Picture Editors:

Images of measurements made at BAS research stations can be obtained from the BAS Press Office. Images may also be downloaded by anonymous ftp from: ftp.nerc-bas.ac.uk/pub/photo/Ozone_12_Sept_03/

British Antarctic Survey

British Antarctic Survey (BAS) undertakes a world-class programme of science in the Antarctic and related regions, addressing key global and regional issues through research, survey and monitoring. BAS also helps to discharge the UK’s international responsibilities under the Antarctic Treaty System. British Antarctic Survey is part of the Natural Environment Research Council. For more information on British Antarctic Survey please visit the website at: http://www.antarctica.ac.uk British Antarctic Survey?s scientists discovered the ?ozone hole? in 1985.