Ozone monitoring

In 1985 British Antarctic Survey scientists reported in the journal Nature their discovery of springtime ozone depletion over Antarctica.  It was a discovery that changed the way that we view our world.

September 16 is world ozone day.  All 197 UN Member States have ratified the Montreal Protocol up to and including the Beijing amendments. 

The Antarctic ozone hole is usually largest in early September and deepest in late September to early October.Observations from Halley since 1994 (the year when ozone depleting gasses were at their peak according to one estimate) show a slow increase of about 1 DU per year in the minimum ozone amount recorded each October, however the inter-annual variation is such that this trend is not yet significant (at the 99% level), ie the data is also consistent with no change in the minimum amount.  Although the amount of ozone destroying substances in the atmosphere is going down, the inter-annual variation in the size and depth of the ozone hole is largely controlled by the meteorological conditions in the stratosphere.  It is still too soon to say that we have had the worst ever ozone hole, particularly as there has been no major volcanic eruption in the Southern Hemisphere since 1992.

Prior to the formation of ozone holes, Antarctic ozone values were normally at their lowest in the autumn (ie March). On occasion atmospheric vertical motions create small areas with ozone substantially below the long term average.  Different satellites give different views of the exact ozone distribution.  The continent covers 14 million sq. km. 

Chronology of Ozone Protection Milestones-thumbnail

Meteorology and Ozone Monitoring

Long-term meteorological and ozone observations and data help determine the causes of climate change in the polar regions. Meteorology Meteorological observations are made regularly throughout the day at Halley and …


The Ozone Hole

1 April, 2017

It’s over 30 years since the discovery of the Ozone Hole drew world attention to the impact of human activity on the global environment. Why is the ozone layer important? …



Engineers automate science from remote Antarctic station

25 June, 2019

A remote and unoccupied research station in Antarctica has, for the first time, collected important scientific measurements of climate, ozone and space weather thanks to ground-breaking technology developed by British …


World Ozone Day – 16th September

16 September, 2018

The 2018 ozone hole began forming in late August and won’t reach its largest for over a fortnight.  Already it covers most of the Antarctic continent, an area of 14 …



Horizon Antarctica Ice Station Rescue on BBC Two

6 June, 2017

Horizon documentary ‘Antarctica Ice Station Rescue’ broadcasts on Wednesday 7 June @ 21:00 on BBC Two In 2016 British Antarctic Survey (BAS) invited BBC film-maker Natalie Hewit to its Halley …



Relocation of Halley Research Station

6 December, 2016

British Antarctic Survey is getting ready to move its Halley VI Research Station 23 km across the ice.  This is the first time that the station, which has a re-locatable …




NEWS STORY: Free event on Halley VI

27 May, 2015

FREE Public Event – Work in a cold climate: designing for the most extreme place on Earth London Festival of Architecture 2015 Thursday 18 June 2015, 18:30 – 20:00 The …


NEWS STORY: Ozone hole 30th anniversary

11 May, 2015

30th Anniversary of the Discovery of Ozone Hole This week British Antarctic Survey (BAS) commemorates the 30th anniversary of one of its most important scientific discoveries that affected the world …


NEWS STORY: World Ozone Day

16 September, 2014

Today, 16 September, is the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer. The date commemorates the signing of the Montreal Protocol, which sought to reduce atmospheric levels of …


NEWS STORY: Signs of ozone recovery

11 September, 2014

First signs of ozone layer recovery The ozone layer is showing the first signs of future recovery thanks to international action against ozone depleting substances, say the United Nations Environment …




PRESS RELEASE: Ozone hole anniversary

5 May, 2010

25th Anniversary of the Discovery of Ozone Hole This week British Antarctic Survey (BAS) commemorates the 25th anniversary of one of its most dramatic scientific discoveries — the ozone hole. …