pure and applied geophysics

, Volume 119, Issue 1, pp 1–8 | Cite as

Stratospheric ozone response to a solar proton event: Hemispheric asymmetries

  • Kaichi Maeda
  • Donald F. Heath


Ozone depression in the polar stratosphere during the energetic solar proton event on 4 August 1972 was observed by the backscattered ultraviolet (BUV) experiment on the Nimbus 4 satellite. Distinct asymmetries in the columnar ozone content, the amount of ozone depressions and their temporal variations above 4 mb level (∼38 km) were observed between the two hemispheres. The ozone destroying solar particles precipitate rather symmetrically into the two polar atmospheres due to the geomagnetic dipole field These asymmetries can be therefore ascribed to the differences mainly in dynamics and partly in the solar illumination and the vertical temperature structure between the summer and the winter polar atmospheres. The polar stratosphere is less disturbed and warmer in the summer hemisphere than the winter hemisphere since the propagation of planetary wave from the troposphere is inhibited by the wind system in the upper troposphere, and the air is heated by the prolonged solar insolation. Correspondingly, the temporal variations of stratospheric ozone depletion and its recovery appear to be smooth functions of time in the (northern) summer hemisphere and the undisturbed ozone amount is slighily, less than that of its counterpart. On the other hand, the tempotal variation of the upper stratospheric ozone in the winter polar atmosphere (southern hemisphere) indicates large amplitudes and irregularities due to the disturbances produced by upward propagating waves which prevail in the polar winter atmosphere. These characteristic differences between the two polar atmospheres are also evident in the vertical distributions of temperature and wind observed by balloons and rocker soundings.

Key words

Ozone Solar proton event Stratospheric circulation 


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kaichi Maeda
    • 1
  • Donald F. Heath
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory for Planetary AtmospheresNASA/Goddard Space Flight CenterGreenbelt

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