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Science, agencies tell Arctic ozone studies.

Two Federal science agencies, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), announced in December 1988 a cooperative investigation to understand better the nature of potential depletion of stratospheric ozone over the Arctic. During January and February 1989, scores of scientists from the two agencies and nearly a dozen other research organizations will carry out an airborne study similar to that done last year on Antarctic ozone depletion. That study directly implicated manmade chlorofluorocarbons (CFC's) as a cause of the "ozone hole" over Antarctica in the austral spring, and raised the question whether a similar phenomenon could be occurring in the Arctic, perhaps on a reduced scale.

Earlier in 1988, in smaller, separate field investigations, NOAA and NASA found elevated levels of chlorine compounds in the atmosphere over the Arctic, giving urgency to the forthcoming joint study. NASA Headquarters has organized the expedition and is providing overall mission management and support through its Upper Atmosphere Research Program, while NOAA's Acronomy Laboratory is providing project science management, according to NASA's Robert Watson, the chief program manager.

Daniel L. Albritton, director of NOAA's Aeronomy Laboratory, Boulder, Colo., said the investigation will search for ozone-depletion processes within the Arctic vortex and their possible influence on ozone concentrations over heavily populated northern mid-latitudes. "If even a small fraction of the Antarctic loss is occurring in the Arctic," he said, "it would more than double the predicted high-latitude ozone depletion." The planned Airborne Arctic Stratospheric Expedition will fly specially instrumented NASA ER-2 and DC-8 aircraft into the Arctic vortex from 1 January through 15 February 1989. The timing of the flights coincides with the statistically most active period for the formation of extremely low-temperature polar stratospheric clouds there. Such clouds are involved in the complex processes that result in the destruction of stratospheric ozone in the Antarctic polar vortex. Aircraft operations and management are being provided by NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
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Publication:Marine Fisheries Review
Date:Jan 1, 1989
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