Library / Role of Satellite Measurements in the Discovery of Stratospheric Ozone Depletion


Pawan K. Bhartia “Role of Satellite Measurements in the Discovery of Stratospheric Ozone Depletion” (2009) // Twenty Years of Ozone Decline. Publisher: Springer Netherlands. ISBN: 9789048124695. Pp. 183–189. DOI: 10.1007/978-90-481-2469-5_13


  title = {Role of Satellite Measurements in the Discovery of Stratospheric Ozone Depletion},
  isbn = {9789048124695},
  url = {},
  doi = {10.1007/978-90-481-2469-5_13},
  booktitle = {Twenty Years of Ozone Decline},
  publisher = {Springer Netherlands},
  author = {Bhartia, Pawan K.},
  year = {2009},
  pages = {183–189}

Quotes (1)

Incorrect Conclusions

Unfortunately, some in the scientific community have derived incorrect conclusions from this experience. It has been widely but incorrectly reported that the TOMS team missed the discovery of the ozone hole since “they rejected the data and discovered it only after the publication of Farman et al. 1985 paper” (see Seinfeld & Pandis 1998, page 189, for a typical example). In fact when the South Pole Dobson data from October 1984 became available to the TOMS team in late 1984, well before the publication of Farman et al. paper, there was no doubt on the validity of satellite total ozone retrievals. (Ironically, October 1983 total ozone values initially reported by the S. Pole station showed normal ozone values that were much larger than that being reported by TOMS. These data were later withdrawn by the station.) The correct conclusion that should be derived from this experience is that remote sensing techniques, such as those used by nadir-viewing satellites, depend critically on information generated by in-situ techniques because of their dependence on prior information. When the retrievals are pushed beyond the limits set by prior information the data become suspect. To report such data without proper validation is scientifically irresponsible. The TOMS team followed the correct approach even though it caused several months delay in reporting the data to the scientific community.

  1. Debunking the myth about ozone holes, NASA, and outlier removal (2023-01-31) 7 Science Audit