Saturday, April 11, 2009

Freezing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the ozone hole in Antarctica

I was thinking about the fact that Antarctica is the only place on earth that gets cold enough to freeze carbon dioxide gas (other than 50 miles up in the mesopause where the air is too thin to matter much), when I realized an interesting coincidence with another natural phenomena: the so-called ozone "hole" that only occurs in Antarctica. Maybe just a coincidence, or maybe not. Nonetheless, very interesting.

The freezing point for carbon dioxide is -109.3 F or -78.5 C. The temperature in some parts of Antarctica can reach -80 C or lower.

Eventually "spring" comes and any frozen carbon dioxide on the surface would be re-released into the atmosphere.

Another possibility is that frozen carbon dioxide crystals remain as an "aerosol" since they may be very small and float in the atmosphere until "spring" warms up to melt them.

Either way, this is a natural phenomenon that coincidentally only occurs at the one place on earth where a large ozone "hole" occurs.

Very interesting.

-- Jack Krupansky


At 1:02 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

-109 F. is the freezing temperature for pure CO2 at one atmosphere. You have to take into account the partial pressure of CO2 in the earth's atmosphere at .0383% of one atmosphere. The freezing point is therefore much lower.


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