Ozone Hole History?

Here is a live map (that will initially be the same) for comparison to the static map in the posting below:

Ozone Anomaly Map

Ozone Anomaly Map

For some time now I’ve been watching the Ozone Deviation Map from this site:


And much of the time when I’ve checked it, during the last couple of years, there would be a couple of bright yellow or sometimes red spots up near the North Pole that were near each other but not touching, and a bland South Pole, often with a low level. Now we’ve got the opposite. Two bright red spots at the South Pole, and a bland North Pole.

My interpretation had been that Birkeland Current from the sun was landing on the North Pole and making the spots (and also preventing the ozone from depleting at the North Pole during the winter absence of UV which makes Ozone). But now….

On this graph as I type:

Ozone Map 19 July 2010

Ozone Map 19 July 2010

There are a couple of areas of low ozone at the North Pole, but strong variations on the south. That’s what I used to see on the opposite pole before. Here is a quasi-representative map selected from 1998 (but with a really strong “ozone hole” over the south pole):

Ozone 28 September 1998

Ozone 28 September 1998

So, OK, what does this mean? Nothing? Who knows what? That the Birkeland Current has swapped polarity? That we’re going to get an Ozone Hole at the North Pole? That I ‘randomly’ sampled on a too small biased basis as I was just browsing? That a day by day look is prone to wild meaningless swings and we need annual average maps?

I don’t have nearly enough information to reach any kind of conclusion, but it looks like an interesting question.

It will certainly be very interesting to watch this Southern Hemisphere winter to see if we have No Ozone Hole…

Sidebar on Ozone and Models

I suspect that the Ozone Depletion scare was the model on which the AGW scare was built. There are curious similarities. For example, from this paper:


we have a long discussion of the evils of ozone depletion along with references to the implications of various “ozone depleting” gases to the GHG scenarios. So what do we find in the middle of it? A chart in Figure 13 purporting to show the increase in such gases over time with a nice, if minor, hockey stick shape. And the kicker is the description:

Values from the late 1980s on are derived from actual measurements. Earlier values are estimates derived from related meteorological information by a statistical model.

To me, it looks more like a bad graft of a statistically flattened averaged shaft to a measured rolling cyclical pattern during an upturn for the blade. They do a nice job of cherry picking starting points to fit trend lines to show scary increases in slope, though…

Update 7 March 2011

Just adding a couple of maps for further data points. First up is an average of Ozone (not the deviation, actual ozone levels) for February 2011. Notice that Ozone level is quite high, up where it’s supposed to be dark in winter… so if UV isn’t making that Ozone, what is?

Average Total Ozone February 2010

Average Total Ozone February 2010

Solar UV output is ‘way down’ and we see fairly low ozone levels around the entire equator (where one would expect solar UV to be quite high) but with ‘hot spots’ over the North high latitude areas that have quite high levels. From day to day and month to month the location of those “ozone eyes” changes, but they tend to be a persistent effect.

Here is “March 1998 Average” actual ozone so you can see what the typical pattern has been:

March 1998 Average Ozone

March 1998 Average Ozone

And for comparision, here is the current “live map” of “all ozone”:

Daily "All Ozone" Live Map

Daily "All Ozone" Live Map

Which at the moment has “three eyes” in the Northern Hemisphere. Something I’ve not noticed before…

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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18 Responses to Ozone Hole History?

  1. E.M.Smith says:

    Adolfo, I’m generally of the opinion that when a physical cause is identified, it is part of the reality. Where most folks tend to the behaviour of assigning it full causality.

    So my “bias” would be that the protons causing water and depleting ozone looks like a valid demonstrated mechanism AND the Birkeland Currents have been demonstrated (and electric flow causes ozone too) so it’s likely a valid mechanism too. Sizes of each “to be determined” ;-) And with general seasonal UV levels giving the background base level.

    That would lead me to expect to find that the high concentration ‘eyes’ where the Birkeland Current lands and the low concentration “hole” where the protons hit.

    Maybe with a few more contributors to ozone dynamics worked out we can explain all those wobbles between high and low deviations all over both poles. (Lord knows that “UV makes Ozone and CFCs deplete it” can not explain all those high and low spots… nor how they dramatically change day to day.)

  2. Maybe this is another convenient concoction, however it does not deny the fact of the chemical interaction of solar protons or GCR protons (hydrogen nucleii) with ozone (O3) and oxygen, which has been also found on the moon by NASA:
    “Some of the water may be made right there on the Moon,” says Spudis. “Protons in the solar wind can make small amounts of water continuously on the lunar surface by interacting with metal oxides in the rocks. But some of the water is probably deposited on the Moon from other places in the solar system.”

  3. Both can work, hand in hand, as every chemical reaction is electrical in nature.

  4. papertiger says:

    Even the scientists can’t describe how the chemical reactions explain the ozone hole.


    Why do we think it’s unnatural?

    Venus has an “ozone analog” (both poles). Same type of hole made from different chemistry.

    Jupiter has one.

    Saturn has it too.

    On Uranus it’s practically the only atmospheric feature visible.

    Even Mars with it’s already thin to the point of extinction atmosphere, has an “ozone hole” over it’s South Pole.

    If Earth didn’t have an ozone hole, then we would be the odd duck.

  5. POUNCER says:

    I think I remember that DuPont was just about to lose patent protection on old-style Freon; when the scientific consensus proved that just such old-style freon was destroying the ozone. And that a ban on freon was politically impossible until DuPont secured their new patent on NEW and IMPROVED (ozone-friendly) Freon-II. The ban and the monopoly were enacted together…

    I could be remembering wrong, of course.

  6. Robert says:

    From memory (grew up in New Zealand) the Antarctic Ozone hole was always most severe in spring, so for apples to apples comparison need to look at same time of year – what was 1998 like at the same time:


    To my eye not a massive difference in middle of winter from 1998 to 2010.

  7. E.M.Smith says:

    @Pouncer: Nope, you got it right. (In broad form, at least. Not sure about exact timing… Oh, and R-12 was still made in quantity and sold out of the USA (i.e. in Mexico) for some time too. Dupont mostly wanted the lucrative USA / Europe money back, and didn’t really care much about latin America as they knew the money was not big ( IMHO, of course).

    Oh, another interesting factoid: There were several non-Freon ‘drop in replacements’ for R-12 (one was, IIRC, GHG-12) but somehow they could not get approval… Another was named FREEZE-12 and was available for a while, but I’ve not found any recently. I “cooked up” my own replacement from iso-butane and propane ( I *think* it was about 40% propane, but it’s been a very long time, do a web search first… I’d just load the Iso-Butane – from camp stove fuel – first, then top up with Propane until the guages read right.)

    The “excuse” was that these contained flamable ingredients so would be horridly hazardous. Never mind that they also contained the same smell chemicals as camp stove fuel and natural gas that we use happily AND carry in our car in sealed containers similar to our sealed AC units when we go camping or use propane powered tools…

    Oh, and the quantity is about 12 ounces. Compare that to the 12 GALLONS of gasoline aboard most of the time and the excuse is sounding pretty weak. Further, GHG-12 was only a little bit of flamable ingredients and was not generally a fire risk anyway.

    In any case, the apparent game is to ‘obsolete’ each chemical about one patent cycle in time. The H-CFC type now approved is in the ‘talking stage’ of banning based on GHG / AGW potential or maybe some hypothetical health risk.

    Me? I’m running R-134A at present in cars that originally were specified for R-12. I can swap back to my ‘home brew’ whenever I want (flush, swap back to mineral oil, load) or keep on running R-134A ( flush, ester oil, load). I think 2 ? of my cars are still on R-12, so if I ever see some more Freeze-12 or GHG-12 I’ll buy up a load of it.

    Humorous History: R-22 was originally compounded to be a ‘drop in replacement’ for the then widely used but deemed to be suddenly hazardous Propane. R-12 was to replace the Iso-Butane variant in use. Dupont made a big bucket of money off these “new and safer” refrigerants on which it held the patent… Never mind that you were not hearing about refrigerators and air conditioners blowing up all over the place before the “risk” was suddenly discovered and legislated…

    The more things change, the more they stay the same…

    OK, did a web search, and found a page of old stuff quoting George Goble (No, not THAT George Goble ;-) the one of GHG fame:


    From: ghg@shay.ecn.purdue.edu (George Goble)
    Newsgroups: rec.autos.tech
    Subject: Re: hydrocarbon blends r-12,r22 alternatives
    Date: 25 Aug 1997 19:50:18 GMT

    In article ,
    CHARLES R. GORDON wrote:
    >does anyone have the correct percentages for blending hydrocarbon gases
    >as alternatives r-12 r-22 r-502 etc. i am told that they are widely used
    >in europe and are marvelous please dont tell me about ec-12a or ec-22a
    >whereas i am not interested in paying a 1000 % markup. i am certified
    >universal by A.C.C.A.

    It is illegal to replace HCFC/CFCs with hydrocarbons in the US in
    all but a very few limited applications (e.g. oil refinery compresors).

    R-12 -> 60/40 (weight) propane/isobutane
    R-22 -> 100 propane
    R-502 -> unsure.. but maybe propylene or blend of propane/proplyene or
    about 90% propane, 10% CO2 or ethane.

    BBQ grade propane is often “wet” and may not be 100% propane, but
    may have some isobutane or butane, esp down south to keep the
    pressure down. If no HCFCs or CFCs or HFCs are present, small moisture
    like < 200 ppm will not cause problems (unless super low temp).. If
    fluorocarbons are present, then you should be < 10ppm moisture to
    prevent them breaking down to acids. Use a refrigerant moisture
    indicator, and dryers. We have seen propane at around 30-50 ppm

    You may design "new" equipment with proper explosion proof
    contactors, vented to the outside, and get UL certification
    for flammable refrigerants I suppose..

  8. Malaga View says:

    I suspect that the Ozone Depletion scare was the model on which the AGW scare was built. There are curious similarities.

    Same model… same tactics… same old shit…

    Welcome to the New Dark Age sponsored by Energy Saving Lightbulbs.

  9. ROM says:

    From a regular and shy lurker!
    Seems like there is a bit of first hand info in the latter part of this post below on the “discovery” of the Ozone Hole.
    The Ozone Hole smells like a scam, looks like a scam, is financed like a scam and definitely in my book was a monstrous prototype for the AGW scam.

    The southern ozone hole size also apparently affects the Southern Annular Mode index or Antarctic Oscillation index [ SAM or AAO ]
    From the NCPC site;
    “The daily AAO index is constructed by projecting the daily (00Z) 700mb height anomalies poleward of 20°S onto the loading pattern of the AAO. Please note that year-round monthly mean anomaly data has been used to obtain the loading pattern of the AAO (Methodology). Since the AAO has the largest variability during the cold sesaon, the loading pattern primarily captures characteristics of the cold season AAO pattern.”


    The SAM index has been very positive since mid May unfortunately
    which is indicative of the more southerly positioning of the AAO loading pattern.
    This in turn has the effect of moving the low pressures and their associated frontal systems further south and away from Australia’s southern winter rainfall regions and also allowing the Hadley cell high pressure areas to also move further south than their normal winter latitudes.
    In turn this means that Australia’s southern regions and winter grain growing regions miss out on a lot of the essential winter rainfall than normally originates in the southern origin frontal systems.

  10. E.M.Smith says:

    @ROM: Interesting stuff. I’d been thinking I ought to find out more about the SAM and AAO but just too much other stuff going on to look into it. Frankly, part of why I like doing articles is the collaborative effect where folks add bits to fill out the understanding.

    If you look at an IR transmissivity chart of the atmosphere you find that water and CO2 overlap in most of it along with other gases. Then there is this one place where they don’t. It’s covered only by O3 (and IIRC it’s about 10 microns)

    So while CO2 is saturated in absorption and H2O overlaps with it in most places, we have this Ozone absorption going on that gets no press… And with an “Ozone Hole” over the pole we would have a nicely opened transmission window around that 10 micron area.

    Yeah, not a big factor, but one that gets ignored.

    More transmissivity charts at:


    including a close up on the 1-6 micron end showing more overlapping bands with fine detail and with O3 blocking some bits.

    I have trouble buying this whole “CO2 blocks the IR” argument when there are other windows it does not block. Unless the ‘black body’ spectrum is notched just right, the heat will just leave through the other parts of the spectrum. So I’d expect O3 to be a factor in that, especially at the poles.

  11. Those two birkeland currents:
    look like those two “portals” I referred in another post here: You have made me remember something the french mathematician and mystic Rene Guenon said about the two “portals”on earth, as from the traditional knowledge, one the “assura loka” and the other the “deva loka”, the door of the devils and the door of the angels, both were the doors through which the souls departed from this world.
    One that makes a hole, while the other closes it, one with a majority of protons, the other with electrons. Kind of a current, or a redox reaction: one oxidizes the other reduces.

  12. Luke Warmer says:

    Whilst the ozone layer is the poster-child for the AGW movement, the options for drop-in replacements to carbon are simply not there. E.M.Smith’s fascinating home brews show inconvenience is relatively low with the drop in route.

    And if you want to bring the issue back to contemporary AGW, don’t miss the fact that Mario Molina is on the Inter-Academy review team for the IPCC.

    I recommend Maureen Christie’s “The Ozone Layer” for a philosophy of science perspective on the subject. She identifies that scientists got the right* answer from the wrong reasoning -“their original argument, while impressive, was seriously flawed. Logically, the flaws might have been detected at the time. But in practice it is doubtful that anyone was in a position to notice the problems.” (p.73)

    (* although the result of the first link by Papertiger on reaction kinetics does put some further uncertainty on this)

    She also highlights issues with boundaries between scientific disciplines, prediction and computer modelling, all of which are still relevant to the AGW debate.

    The links to other natural phenomena were noted: “Variations in ozone level of magnitude similar to, or slightly greater than that predicted for chlorine-mediated depletion, occur in correlation with a number of regular and irregular natural cycles. The seasonal cycle, the quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO), the cycle of solar activity, the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), and the general level of volcanic activity around the world, all produce correlations of this sort.” (p33) Plus she notes that some of these produce uniform global ups and downs in O3 whilst others act on different regions of the globe in different ways.

  13. kevoka says:

    The Ozone hole issue is right in keeping with all the other man made environmental scares and follows the same pattern:

    1) Technology enables man to measure something not measured before.

    2) A trend is determined (and it is usually only increasing or decreasing)

    3) The trend is projected out in time

    4) Based on the unconstrained projection, scenarios of what is effected are constructed (always bad).

    5) A man made casual effect is identified (except in the case of meteorites).

    6) The man made doomsday story begins.

  14. Quite a change in just 4 days!, now we have four wires connected instead of two.!!

  15. E.M.Smith says:

    One of the things that first got me thinking “It’s not the CFCs” was the daily variation. Clearly the bulk processes are driven by something VERY dynamic, not a 50 year slow diffusion of a gas with near uniform global distribution. And since sunlight is fairly uniform as it reaches the earth, I doubt that a UV variation case could cover the patterns.

    But it DOES look like the kind of wandering you get with an arc discharge…

  16. Agile Aspect says:

    There should a rule if you’re going to display maps of the polar regions, then you should use polar projections.

    For instance, where are the ceremonial, geographic and magnetic south poles on the Mercator projection?

    And there should be a rule requiring a map of the total amount whenever a deviation map is presented.

    Also, it may be more interesting to compare the Arctic ozone levels at the beginning of January to the Antarctic ozone levels at the beginning of September.

  17. E.M.Smith says:

    @Agile Aspect:

    As I’m interested in comparing N.H. to S.H. and it’s rather hard to get the whole globe onto a hemisphere centric projection, I’m going to stick with these global maps…

    And the only “rule” needed is that the map ought to display what you are interested in displaying…


    I’ve added an update with “total ozone” maps at the bottom. Of interest to me are two things:

    1) There are now “three eyes”… rather odd.

    2) Even with a sleepy sun putting out little UV and with the N.H. still in the winter low light side of things, we have much higher ozone levels in the N.H. than in the southern. Somehow I don’t think it’s UV that’s making the ozone… Oh, and the “eyes” seem to be a bit more ‘equatorward’ as the anomaly map up top makes clear (very low anomaly where the ‘eyes’ used to hang out more).

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