Brian Dunbar Headquarters, Washington, D.C.

December 5, 1991 (Phone: 202/453-1547) Jessie Katz Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. (Phone: 301/286-5566) James Wilson Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. (Phone: 818/354-5011) Release: 91-199 DATA ILLUSTRATES LINK BETWEEN CHLORINE, OZONE DEPLETION Early results from NASA's Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) have confirmed the link between the presence of chlorine monoxide and the depletion of ozone in Earth's upper atmosphere. The UARS, launched by Space Shuttle Discovery on Sept. 12, 1991, is studying the upper atmosphere to better understand the processes at work in this vital region of the Earth's environment. The early results indicate that UARS is a powerful new tool for detecting and tracking ozone depletion and the factors that cause it, officials at the Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., said today. Data from the satellite have provided the first global-scale picture of the distribution of chlorine monoxide in the lower stratosphere. Chlorine monoxide is one of the main chemical species involved in the depletion of the Earth's ozone layer and is the dominant constituent causing the Antarctic ozone hole. UARS has helped show that the more chlorine monoxide

present, the less ozone will be observed. Chlorine monoxide, in the upper atmosphere, results from the breakdown of the man-made chlorofluorocarbons by the Sun's ultraviolet radiation. UARS has observed high chlorine monoxide over Antarctica, while simultaneously measuring the ozone depletion that accompanies it. These data confirm the relationship in the upper atmosphere between the two chemicals. - more -2The relationship between high concentrations of chlorine monoxide and low concentrations of ozone previously have been made from the ground and by NASA ER-2 aircraft. However, the ground and aircraft measurements have been conducted over a much smaller geographical area than is now being done by UARS. The UARS data examined to date show that extremely high amounts of chlorine monoxide (greater than about one molecule of chlorine monoxide for every 1 billion "air" molecules) occur only where ozone is severely depleted. Those data also show great variation of chlorine monoxide levels within the Antarctic hole and are expected to improve scientific understanding of the ozone depletion process occurring there as well as at other places on the globe. These first results from the UARS were obtained with the Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS), one of the 10 scientific instruments aboard the satellite. MLS detects microwave radiation emitted from chlorine monoxide, ozone, sulfur dioxide and water vapor in the atmosphere. That radiation is then analyzed to produce chemical concentration and temperature data at altitudes throughout the upper atmosphere over nearly the entire Earth as the UARS spacecraft orbits at an altitude of 363.5 miles. The MLS also is seeing the effects of the large eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines on June 15, 1991. The volcano injected huge amounts of sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere, the remnants of which appear to the MLS as a band of high sulfur dioxide concentrations over the tropics. Aerosol particles formed from volcanic sulfur dioxide could lead to significant ozone loss in the vicinity of the plume.

Nothing comparable to the very high chlorine monoxide concentration over Antarctica has as yet been detected by the UARS in the volcanic plume. The satellite will maintain a watch for such effects as the volcanic plume spreads northward during the next several months and gradually subsides. Patches of enhanced sulfur dioxide also have been detected in the southern hemisphere and are probably from the smaller Mount Hudson eruption in Chile in August 1991. All instruments aboard the UARS have been activated and are operating successfully. In addition to chlorine monoxide, ozone and sulfur dioxide, the satellite instruments also have measured nitric oxide, water vapor, stratospheric temperature, energetic particles that cause the aurora, and the solar ultraviolet spectrum. All spacecraft systems are meeting or exceeding specifications, Goddard officials said. Many additional measurements are expected as the instruments complete their scheduled validation testing. - more -3The Microwave Limb Sounder was developed and is operated on the UARS by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, Calif., in collaboration with United Kingdom groups at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh University and the Rutherford-Appleton Laboratory. Dr. Joe W. Waters of JPL is Principal Investigator. UARS, the first major project of NASA's Mission to Planet Earth program, will provide scientists with the first comprehensive data set on the chemistry, wind velocities and energetics of Earth's upper atmosphere. UARS is managed and operated by the Goddard center for NASA's Office of Space Science and Applications, Washington, D.C. - end NOTE TO EDITORS/NEWS DIRECTORS: Satellite images of ozone levels are available to accompany this release and may be obtained by calling the Goddard Space Flight Center Public Affairs Office (301/286-5566) or (301/286-7512). These images also are available to media representatives from the NASA Headquarters Audio Visual Branch by calling (202/453-8373). Headquarters image numbers are:

B&W 91-H-884 91-H-885 91-H-886

Color 91-HC-783 91-HC-784 91-HC-785