The Antarctic ozone hole during 2010

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Journal, Volume 61, p.253 - 267 (2011)



The Antarctic ozone hole of 2010 is reviewed from a variety of perspectives, making use of various data and analyses. Based on total column ozone metrics, the 2010 ozone hole was one of the smallest in the past fifteen–twenty years. The main influence on the size of the ozone hole was relatively warm temperatures in the Antarctic lower stratosphere which impeded ozone depletion in the austral spring. The warm winter temperatures were associated with a significant dynamical disturbance in the mid- and high latitude upper stratosphere during July which included a substantial warming of the mid- and upper extratropical stratosphere, a deceleration of zonal winds and a cooling in the polar mesosphere. The disturbance was likely influenced by the phase of the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation (QBO) which favoured a weak and disturbed polar vortex in the winter months. The winter warming also resulted in significant off-pole displacement and weakening of the polar vortex in the mid- to upper stratosphere, producing a long-lasting increase in the overburden of ozone and weakening ozone hole metrics based on total column ozone measurements. Ozone loss in the lower stratosphere was less markedly affected by this dynamical activity, and was similar to other recent years. A notable feature was the reduction in dynamical disturbances of the polar vortex after September, when the QBO moved into a strongly eastward phase. During the late spring and early summer, stratospheric temperatures warmed more slowly than in recent years, and this produced one of the longest-lasting ozone holes yet observed which eventually disappeared in the last week of December. The relatively low ozone levels in December resulted in unusually high surface ultraviolet fluxes as measured on the coast of East Antarctica.