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Andreas Richter, Folkard Wittrock, Mark Weber, Steffen Beirle, Sven Kühl, Ulrich Platt, Thomas Wagner, Walburga Wilms-Grabe, and John P. Burrows


Measurements from the Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment (GOME) are used to study the chemical evolution of the stratosphere during the unusual 2002 winter in the Southern Hemisphere. The results show that chlorine activation as indicated by OClO columns was similar to previous years in the vortex until the major warming on 26 September 2002 after which it decreased rapidly. Similarly, NO2 columns were only slightly larger than in previous years before the warming, indicating strong denoxification and probably also denitrification. After the warming, very large NO2 columns were observed for a few days, which then decreased again as the vortex reestablished itself until the final warming. Ozone columns were much larger than in any previous year from September onward, mainly as a result of the unusual dynamical situation. Analysis of the global long-term time series of GOME measurements since 1996 provides a unique opportunity to set the austral winter 2002 into perspective. The GOME data reveal the large difference in variability of chlorine activation between the two hemispheres, whereas denoxification shows surprisingly little variation from year to year in both hemispheres. However, NO2 depletion in the Southern Hemisphere is usually sustained for about one month longer in the Antarctic stratosphere as a result of the stable vortex. Compared to the observations in the Northern Hemisphere, the austral winter 2002 was still stable and cold and had a high potential for chemical ozone destruction.

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John P. Burrows, Mark Weber, Michael Buchwitz, Vladimir Rozanov, Annette Ladstätter-Weißenmayer, Andreas Richter, Rüdiger DeBeek, Ricarda Hoogen, Klaus Bramstedt, Kai-Uwe Eichmann, Michael Eisinger, and Dieter Perner


The Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment (GOME) is a new instrument aboard the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Second European Remote Sensing Satellite (ERS-2), which was launched in April 1995. The main scientific objective of the GOME mission is to determine the global distribution of ozone and several other trace gases, which play an important role in the ozone chemistry of the earth’s stratosphere and troposphere. GOME measures the sunlight scattered from the earth’s atmosphere and/or reflected by the surface in nadir viewing mode in the spectral region 240–790 nm at a moderate spectral resolution of between 0.2 and 0.4 nm. Using the maximum 960-km across-track swath width, the spatial resolution of a GOME ground pixel is 40 × 320 km2 for the majority of the orbit and global coverage is achieved in three days after 43 orbits.

Operational data products of GOME as generated by DLR-DFD, the German Data Processing and Archiving Facility (D-PAF) for GOME, comprise absolute radiometrically calibrated earthshine radiance and solar irradiance spectra (level 1 products) and global distributions of total column amounts of ozone and NO2 (level 2 products), which are derived using the DOAS approach (Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy). (Under certain conditions and some restrictions, the operational data products are publically available from the European Space Agency via the ERS Helpdesk.)

In addition to the operational data products, GOME has delivered important information about other minor trace gases such as OClO, volcanic SO2, H2CO from biomass burning, and tropospheric BrO. Using an iterative optimal estimation retrieval scheme, ozone vertical profiles can be derived from the inversion of the UV/VIS spectra. This paper reports on the GOME instrument, its operation mode, and the retrieval techniques, the latter with particular emphasis on DOAS (total column retrieval) and advanced optimal estimation (ozone profile retrieval).

Observation of ozone depletion in the recent polar spring seasons in both hemispheres are presented. OClO observed by GOME under twilight conditions provides valuable information on the chlorine activation inside the polar vortex, which is believed to be responsible for the rapid catalytic destruction of ozone. Episodes of enhanced BrO in the Arctic, most likely contained in the marine boundary layer, were observed in early and late spring. Excess tropospheric nitrogen dioxide and ozone have been observed during the recent Indonesian fire in fall 1997. Formaldehyde could also clearly be identified by GOME and is known to be a by-product resulting from biomass burning.

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