View the latest status of the ozone layer over the Antarctic, with a focus on the ozone hole. Satellite instruments monitor the ozone layer, and we use their data to create the images that depict the amount of ozone.
Click any map image to bring up a new page with a high-resolution image.
Each year for the past few decades during the Southern Hemisphere spring, chemical reactions involving chlorine and bromine cause ozone in the southern polar region to be destroyed rapidly and severely. This depleted region is known as the “ozone hole”. The area of the ozone hole is determined from a map of total column ozone. It is calculated from the area on the Earth that is enclosed by a line with a constant value of 220 Dobson Units. The value of 220 Dobson Units is chosen since total ozone values of less than 220 Dobson Units were not found in the historic observations over Antarctica prior to 1979. Also, from direct measurements over Antarctica, a column ozone level of less than 220 Dobson Units is a result of the ozone loss from chlorine and bromine compounds.
NASA provides daily images, data, and information from satellite instruments that monitor the ozone layer and the ozone hole, a thinning break in the stratospheric ozone layer. Designation of amount of such depletion as an "ozone hole" is made when the detected amount of depletion exceeds fifty percent. Seasonal ozone holes have been observed over both the Antarctic and Arctic regions, part of Canada, and the extreme northeastern United States.