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Instrument: SSBUV : Shuttle Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet
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The Shuttle Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet (SSBUV) instrument was
designed to measure ozone concentrations by comparing solar
ultraviolet radiation with radiation scattered back from the Earth's
atmosphere. SSBUV was first flown in 1989 and has been flown a total
of seven times on the Space Shuttle including all three Atmospheric
Laboratory for Applications and Science (ATLAS) missions.
SSBUV compares the observations of several ozone measuring instruments
aboard the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NOAA-9 and
NOAA-11 satellites, the Russian Meteor-3/TOMS satellite and the Upper
Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS). The SSBUV data are used to
calibrate the instruments to ensure the most accurate readings
possible for the detection of atmospheric ozone trends.
SSBUV's impact on NASA's ability to detect ozone trends accurately was
realized after approximately four flights. Data from the first flight
with an earlier satellite already have been used to estimate ozone
trends in the upper stratosphere since 1980. These results show a
depletion of about 8 percent over 10 years, which is consistent with
predictions of ozone depletion.
SSBUV has achieved one of it's primary objectives using data from the
first three flights, flown in 1989, 1990 and 1991. These data have
been used to update the calibration of the NOAA-11 SBUV/2 ozone
instrument which has been in orbit since late 1988. The NOAA ozone
data have been reprocessed with a refined algorithm and new
calibration factors based on SSBUV and SBUV/2 in- flight calibration
data, which were provided by NASA. The reprocessing covers the period
1989 to 1993. The reprocessed data have been checked against ground-
based ozone observations, and these comparisons show very good
agreement. There is also now excellent consistency between the refined
NOAA-11 SBUV/2 data and the Nimbus-7 SBUV/TOMS data set, which goes
back to 1978. The combined 15-year data set represents an excellent
resource for ozone climate and trend studies.
SSBUV has detected and verified a significant decrease in the amounts
of total Northern Hemisphere between the STS-45/ATLAS-1 (March 1992)
and STS-56/ ATLAS-2 (March 1993) missions. The depletion also was
detected simultaneously by satellites and ground-based
observations. Indications are that total ozone decreased during the
same period on the order of 10 to 15 percent at mid- latitudes in the
Northern Hemisphere. Scientists believe that this significant
depletion results from the combined residual effects of Mt. Pinatubo
aerosols in the stratosphere and cold stratosphere temperatures during
the winter of 1992/ 93.