LASP researchers launch balloons to study ozone over Antarctica

Concordiasi balloon

The set-up for launch of the instrument payloads took place in September under clear skies in Antarctica. (Courtesy Concordiasi team)

LASP atmospheric researchers Linnea Avallone and Lars Kalnajs are currently at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, where they are participating in the Concordiasi campaign, a French-led project to study the Antarctic “ozone hole” using instrumentation on long-duration, super-pressure balloons.

Two of the three balloons that are currently circumnavigating the lower stratosphere over Antarctica are carrying lightweight, low-power ozone photometers built in Avallone’s laboratory. Each instrument is making measurements of ozone every half-hour and is expected to continue for the lifetime of the payload—perhaps as long as four months. The data will be used in conjunction with simultaneous measurements of polar stratospheric clouds to learn more about the rates of ozone depletion and to constrain photochemical models.

Concordiasi balloon trajectories

Trajectories of Concordiasi balloons (as of 18 September 2100 UT) are shown over Antarctica. Click image to view full sized (Courtesy Cora Randall)