Polar Stratospheric Clouds on Earth
The physical chemistry of the clouds occuring in the Earth’s polar winter stratosphere is far from being well-understood despite their proximity compared to ices of other planets in the solar system. However, the scientific field is very rapidly developing. This paper summarizes the current state (early 1996) of our knowledge of the microphysics and heterogeneous chemistry of polar stratospheric clouds with emphasis on liquid and solid particle thermodynamics and on kinetics of non-reactive gas uptake leading to particle growth. The consequences of the present uncertainties for the chemical processing of stratospheric air are briefly discussed. Currently, the incomplete understanding of solid particle formation limits our prognostic capabilities. The question of whether in the next 8–10 years an Arctic ozone hole could develop, similar to the one observed in the southern hemisphere, is still open.
KeywordsStratospheric Aerosol Ozone Hole Ozone Loss Polar Stratospheric Cloud Antarctic Ozone
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