An Unprecedented Arctic Ozone Depletion Event During Spring 2020 and Its Impacts Across Europe

Boyan H. Petkov, Vito Vitale, Piero Di Carlo, Oxana Drofa, Daniele Mastrangelo, Andrew R. D. Smedley, Henri Diémoz, Anna Maria Siani, Ilias Fountoulakis, Ann R. Webb, Alkiviadis Bais, Richard Kift, John Rimmer, Giuseppe Rocco Casale, Georg H. Hansen, Tove Svendby, Andrea Pazmiño, Rolf Werner, Atanas M. Atanassov, Kamil LáskaHugo De Backer, Alexander Mangold, Ulf Köhler, Voltaire A. Velazco, René Stübi, Anna Solomatnikova, Kseniya Pavlova, Piotr S. Sobolewski, Bjørn Johnsen, Florence Goutail, Oliver Mišaga, Eleonora Aruffo, Ladislav Metelka, Zoltán Tóth, Dénes Fekete, Alexandr A. Aculinin, Angelo Lupi, Mauro Mazzola, Federico Zardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The response of the ozone column across Europe to the extreme 2020 Arctic ozone depletion was examined by analyzing ground-based observations at 38 European stations. The ozone decrease at the northernmost site, Ny-Ålesund (79°N) was about 43% with respect to a climatology of more than 30 years. The magnitude of the decrease declined by about 0.7% deg −1 moving south to reach nearly 15% at 40°N. In addition, it was found that the variations of the ozone column at each of the selected stations in March-May were similar to those observed at Ny-Ålesund but with a delay increasing to about 20 days at mid-latitudes with a gradient of approximately 0.5 days deg −1. The distributions of reconstructed ozone column anomalies over a sector covering a large European area show decreasing ozone that started from the north at the beginning of April 2020 and spread south. Such behavior was shown to be similar to that observed after the Arctic ozone depletion in 2011. Stratospheric dynamical patterns in March–May 2011 and during 2020 suggested that the migration of ozone-poor air masses from polar areas to the south after the vortex breakup caused the observed ozone responses. A brief survey of the ozone mass mixing ratios at three stratospheric levels showed the exceptional strength of the 2020 episode. Despite the stronger and longer-lasting Arctic ozone loss in 2020, the analysis in this work indicates a similar ozone response at latitudes below 50°N to both 2011 and 2020 phenomena.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2022JD037581
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Issue number3
Early online date21 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - 16 Feb 2023


  • Arctic ozone depletion
  • Arctic vortex
  • ozone column


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