This is the first year growth of the ozone hole has been
observed by an ozone-monitoring instrument on the Suomi
National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite. The
instrument, called the Ozone Mapping Profiler Suite
(OMPS), is based on previous instruments, such as the
Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) and the Solar
Backscatter Ultraviolet instrument (SBUV/2), which have
flown on multiple satellites. OMPS continues a satellite
record dating back to the early 1970s.
addition to observing the annual formation and extent of
the ozone hole, scientists hope OMPS will help them
better understand ozone destruction in the middle and
upper stratosphere with its Nadir Profiler. Ozone
variations in the lower stratosphere will be measured
with its Limb Profiler.
"OMPS Limb looks sideways, and it can measure ozone as a
function of height," said Pawan K. Bhartia, a NASA
atmospheric physicist and OMPS Limb instrument lead.
"This OMPS instrument allows us to more closely see the
vertical development of Antarctic ozone depletion in the
lower stratosphere where the ozone hole occurs."
NASA and NOAA have been monitoring the ozone layer on
the ground and with a variety of instruments on
satellites and balloons since the 1970s. Long-term ozone
monitoring instruments have included TOMS, SBUV/2,
Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment series of
instruments, the Microwave Limb Sounder, the Ozone
Monitoring Instrument, and the OMPS instrument on Suomi
NPP. Suomi NPP is a bridging mission leading to the
next-generation polar-orbiting environmental satellites
called the Joint Polar Satellite System, which will
extend ozone monitoring into the 2030s.
NASA and NOAA have a mandate under the Clean Air Act to
monitor ozone-depleting gases and stratospheric
depletion of ozone. NOAA complies with this mandate by
monitoring ozone via ground and satellite measurements.
The NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder,
Colo., performs the ground-based monitoring. The Climate
Prediction Center performs the satellite monitoring.