Mini ozone hole appears over western Canada

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On February 7, 2018, the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service or CAMS, has successfully predicted the appearance of an ozone mini-hole over western Canada on February 12 or 13. Sudden stratospheric warmings like the one currently in progress have been shown to precede the formation of these localized ozone depletion events.

Satellite observations acquired on February 12 and 13 data assimilation confirmed predictions made by ECMWF’s CAMS, proving its model really works and can accurately predict these kinds of events.

Below is a comparison of the model prediction based 00:00 UTC, February 9 and valid on 03:00 UTC, February 13, of the very short range (3 hour) forecast from the model analysis relying on several satellite observations from February 12 and valid for February 13, 03:00 UTC and of measurements from the OMI satellite instrument on February 13.

Total column of ozone February 13, 2018Total ozone February 12, 2018

Ozone mini-holes at high northern latitudes are relatively rare as the topography of the continents surrounding the Arctic generally disrupts the polar vortex and prevents the formation of polar stratospheric clouds involved in the chemical reactions that produce chlorine atoms, which are responsible for fast ozone depletion in the mini-holes. 

According to Copernicus, their forecast shows that this mini ozone hole will probably persist for a few more days and maybe shift a little towards the East or into the U.S. but it will eventually dissipate.

Sudden stratospheric warmings have been shown to precede the formation of these localized ozone depletion events. 

Featured image: Mini ozone hole appears over western Canada. Credit: ECMWF/Copernicus

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