Press Release

NASA Begins New Year with International Arctic Ozone Study

By SpaceRef Editor
January 6, 2003
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NASA researchers, and more than 350 scientists from the
United States, European Union, Canada, Iceland, Japan,
Norway, Poland, Russia and Switzerland, are working together
this winter to measure ozone and other atmospheric gases. The
scientists will use aircraft, large and small balloons,
ground-based instruments and satellites.

The Arctic campaign runs from Jan. 8 through Feb. 6, 2003.
Flights of large balloons will augment the aircraft campaign,
extending the measurement period to late March 2003.

This second SAGE III Ozone Loss and Validation Experiment
(SOLVE II) campaign will be conducted in close collaboration
with the European Commission. It is sponsored by the
VINTERSOL (Validation of International Satellites & Study of
Ozone Loss) campaign. (SAGE III stands for the third
Stratospheric Aerosol & Gas Experiment.) SOLVE takes place in
Kiruna, Sweden, the site of the first winter (1999-2000)
international effort (SOLVE I).

NASA’s SAGE III satellite instrument is being used to
quantitatively assess ozone loss in the higher latitudes.
SAGE III was launched onboard a Russian Meteor-3M spacecraft
on December 10, 2001. The validation of the SAGE III
observations is a principal goal of SOLVE II. SOLVE II is
sponsored by NASA’s Earth Science Enterprise, dedicated to
better understanding and protecting our home planet.

“The primary goals of the joint SOLVE II-VINTERSOL campaign
are to further understanding of ozone loss processes in the
Arctic, and provide coincident observations between the
airborne and SAGE III measurements. This comparison will
enable the satellite scientists to critically and
quantitatively assess the in-space performance of their
instruments to measure profiles of ozone, aerosols, and water
vapor over the Earth,” said Michael Kurylo, SOLVE II co-
Program Scientist at NASA Headquarters, Washington.

Ozone studies are important, because the ozone layer prevents
the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation from reaching the
Earth’s surface. Ultraviolet radiation is a primary cause of
skin cancer. Without protective upper-level ozone, there
would be no life on Earth.

During the campaign of 1999-2000, record ozone losses of 70
percent were observed at altitudes around 18 kilometers (11
miles), and a great deal was learned about the processes
leading to the rapid ozone loss in the Arctic. The SOLVE II
campaign will add to that body of knowledge.

During the coming winter, scientists in SOLVE II-VINTERSOL
will work toward verifying the accuracy of measurements from
current Earth observing satellites. The in situ and remote
sensing measurements taken aboard these aircraft will provide
a unique data set for comparison with the SAGE III
instruments and other satellite instruments. Teams from the
Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (France’s National Center
for Space Studies) and NASA will launch research balloons
carrying payloads weighing up to several hundred pounds from
Kiruna. A network of over 30 stations of ground-based
instruments will take atmospheric readings over a wide area
to show how the chemical composition of Arctic stratosphere
evolves through the whole winter.

VINTERSOL is a pan-European campaign involving researchers
supported by the European Commission and national research

Although the previously scheduled Media Week has been
canceled, the press may schedule interviews with key
scientists by contacting Cynthia O’Carroll at 301/614-5563.

For more information and images see:

For information about the SOLVE II Mission see:

For information about SAGE III see:

For information about the VINTERSOL program see:

SpaceRef staff editor.