Flying through the ozone hole

In 1985, the British Antarctic Survey reported a shocking drop in springtime ozone levels above the Antarctic. Several theories emerged to explain this ozone “hole.” In 1986, Susan Solomon (NOAA) and NCAR’s Rolando Garcia published a seminal paper targeting the role of polar stratospheric clouds in ozone depletion. In August 1987, NCAR atmospheric chemists flew over the South Pole in the Airborne Antarctic Ozone Experiment, which sampled air directly from the depleted area and cast further light on depletion processes. Here, NCAR researcher Richard Lueb checks the whole-air sampler mounted on the nose of a NASA ER-2.