As the frigid “Polar Vortex” remains surprisingly stable and centered over Antarctica, NOAA researchers stationed at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station continue monitoring the “Ozone Hole” situated overhead. Continued vortex stability means that fresh air from the mid-latitudes has yet to break through this atmospheric barrier and fill in the annual depletion event. Balloons launched… Read More


Logo for the International Ozone Commission

By Irina Petropavlovskikh, Secretary of the International Ozone Commission and a CIRES and NOAA scientist  September 16 is the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, celebrating the 1987 anniversary of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. The Montreal Protocol is the globally ratified treaty that controls the production… Read More


photo of the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica

By Patrick Cullis, CIRES and NOAA scientist  Every year, before the Antarctic Ozone Hole begins to form early in the austral spring, preparation is ongoing for a new crew getting ready to spend a year living and working at the South Pole Station. The crew needs to arrive at the South Pole ready to carry on… Read More


The Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station is a research station located at the geographic South Pole in Antarctica and operated by the National Science Foundation under the United States Antarctic Program (USAP).  Beginning with construction in late 1956, the site has been continuously occupied throughout several upgrades and new construction.  The original station, now referred to… Read More


As sunrise draws near at the South Pole after six months of night, we check in with the NOAA crew stationed at the South Pole to see how their year in Antarctica is progressing. LTJG Ben Kaiser, Station Chief of the Atmospheric Research Observatory at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station was happy to answer questions… Read More


A rare atmospheric phenomenon is occurring over Antarctica that is putting the brakes on this year’s formation of the annual Antarctic Ozone Hole. Extremely warm stratospheric air temperatures are forcing their way over the South Pole and weakening the Antarctic Polar Vortex. This type of event is called Sudden Stratospheric Warming, or SSW, and is… Read More


Logo for the International Ozone Commission

By Irina Petropavlovskikh, Secretary of the International Ozone Commission and a CIRES and NOAA scientist  September 16th is International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, celebrating the 1987 anniversary of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. This protocol is the first environmental treaty to achieve universal ratification. The Montreal… Read More


Recipe for an Ozone Hole

The annual formation of the Antarctic Ozone Hole is a dynamic process combining extreme environmental factors with manmade chemicals to destroy the ozone layer in an incredible display of catalytic destruction. While destructive chlorine damages the Ozone Layer globally, the danger is most apparent during the annual formation of the Antarctic Ozone Hole. Before the… Read More


The Antarctic Ozone Hole

The Ozone Layer is the name given to large concentrations of naturally occurring ozone located high in the stratosphere between 35,000 – 160,000 feet. The ozone layer is important to life on Earth because of its ability to filter out harmful doses of ultraviolet radiation from the Sun that damage DNA in plants and animals… Read More


I just returned from a year of supporting NOAA’s research at the South Pole, and what an adventure it was! A big part of our job as the two woman team maintaining the Atmospheric Research Observatory at Pole was frequent balloon launches. Each launch provided us with data that could be used to construct a… Read More