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Featured Science Paper

BrO, blizzards, and drivers of polar tropospheric ozone depletion events

The discovery, in both the Arctic and Antarctic polar spring, of events of almost complete ozone removal from the lowest levels of the atmosphere has spawned an entire new scientific topic. The phenomenon is of interest in itself, but it has led on to related discoveries about the role of halogens (especially bromine) as oxidants, and connections to sea salt aerosol, mercury deposition, and many other phenomena. It has been traditionally understood that what is required for ozone depletion events (ODEs) is a stable boundary layer and low wind speeds.

This paper marshals a wide range of evidence to show that the phenomenon can also be very strongly observed under high winds, using data from Halley Research Station during a ‘bromine explosion’ event that had a footprint across the whole Weddell Sea. Data shows that we can, in principle, understand why the ozone depletion events might occur under both low and high winds.

Link to the full paper in the NERC Open Research Archive


Jones, A. E., Anderson, P. S., Begoin, M., Brough, N., Hutterli, M. A., Marshall, G., Richter, A., Roscoe, H. K., and Wolff, E. W.


Atmos. Chem. Phys., 9, 4639-4652, 2009