Data from the Swedish Odin satellite indicate that no arctic ozone hole will appear this winter, despite fears to that effect.

– This winter the stratosphere in the Arctic region has been unusually cold, says Donal Murtagh, professor of Global Environmental Measurements at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden and responsible for atmospheric science research on Odin. The low temperature created large amounts of zone-destroying chlorine compounds in the stratosphere at the end of January. professor, which indicated a risk of the appearance of an “ozone hole”.

– We have speeded up Odin data reduction in order to be able predict whether or not an ozone hole is imminent. For this to occur low temperatures must prevail into March and the polar circulation vortex must be stable. But the temperature in the stratosphere is increasing, which releases nitrogen compounds from ice clouds over the pole. The nitrogen reacts with chlorine and thus prevents the chlorine from destroying the ozone.

– Only renewed cooling of the stratosphere could change the situation, but it is hard to see how this could happen, says professor Murtagh.

Since its launch in 2001 Odin has collected a vast amount of data about processes in the atmosphere relevant to the ozone layer and the Earth’s climate. But Odin can also cast its microwave eye into space. Therefore its resources are divided equally between atmospheric scientist and astronomers.In addition to Sweden, France, Canada and Finland take part in the Odin project. The Swedish National Space Board recently decided to continue funding a fifth year of operations. Odin has been designed and developed by the Swedish Space Corporation and is operated by the company’s ground station and control centre facilities.