25 Oct 2023
 | 25 Oct 2023
Status: this preprint is open for discussion and under review for Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

The Antarctic stratospheric Nitrogen Hole: Southern Hemisphere and Antarctic springtime total nitrogen dioxide and total ozone variability as observed in Sentinel-5p TROPOMI data

Adrianus de Laat, Jos van Geffen, Piet Stammes, Ronald van der A, Henk Eskes, and Pepijn Veefkind

Abstract. Denitrification of the stratospheric vortex is a crucial process for the Antarctic Ozone Hole formation resulting in  an analogous stratospheric “Nitrogen Hole”. Here, 2018–2021 daily TROPOMI measurements are used for the first time for a detailed characterization of this Nitrogen Hole. Nitrogen dioxide total columns exhibit strong spatiotemporal and seasonal variations associated with both photochemistry as well as transport and mixing processes. Combined with total ozone column data two main regimes are identified: inner-vortex ozone and nitrogen dioxide depleted air and outer-vortex air enhanced in ozone and nitrogen dioxide. Within the vortex total ozone and total stratospheric nitrogen dioxide are strongly correlated which is much less evident outside of the vortex. Connecting both main regimes are what is defined here as “mixing lines”, a third regime of coherent patterns in the total nitrogen dioxide column – total ozone column phase space. These mixing lines exist because of differences in three dimensional variations of nitrogen dioxide and ozone thereby providing information about vortex dynamics and cross-vortex edge mixing. On the other hand, interannual variability of nitrogen dioxide – total ozone characteristics are rather small except in 2019 when the vortex was unusually unstable. Overall, the results show that daily stratospheric nitrogen dioxide column satellite measurements provide an innovative means for characterizing and Polar stratospheric denitrification processes and vortex dynamics and potentially long term monitoring if the total nitrogen column data record is extended with past satellite observations.

Adrianus de Laat et al.

Status: open (until 06 Dec 2023)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2384', Anonymous Referee #1, 16 Nov 2023 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2384', Anonymous Referee #2, 21 Nov 2023 reply

Adrianus de Laat et al.

Adrianus de Laat et al.


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Short summary
Removal of stratospheric nitrogen-oxides crucial for the formation of the Ozone Hole. TROPOMI satellite measurements of nitrogen dioxide reveal the presence of a not dissimilar "Nitrogen Hole" that largely coincides with the Ozone Hole. Three very distinct regimes were identified: inside and  outside the Ozone Hole and the transition zone in between. Our results introduce a valuable and innovative application highly relevant for Antarctic ozone hole and ozone layer recovery.