Source: Thomas Pagano, NASA-JPL/Caltech
Published: August 9, 2021

The AIRS instrument was launched on May 4, 2002. After a few months of checkout and activation, the first quality science data became available in September 2003. AIRS has been operated continuously since launch with very few outages. This mosaic animation shows the Antarctic ozone concentrations observed by the AIRS instrument every 12 hours over the period of August to December for the years 2002 to 2020. AIRS measures ozone in the infrared allowing a continuous record throughout the year. Synchronizing the dates for each year allows us to visually compare the size and duration of the ozone hole amongst the various years. The colors represent the total ozone concentration in Dobson Units ranging from 125 to 450 (blue to red colorscale). 2020 has been identified as one of the largest and longest lasting ozone holes on record. 2019 was one of the smallest.