Liquid and solid particles in polar stratospheric clouds are of central importance for the depletion of stratospheric ozone. Surface-catalyzed reactions on these particles, and diffusion-controlled processes in the bulk of the particles, convert halogens, which derive from compounds of mainly anthropogenic origin, from relatively inert reservoir species into forms that efficiently destroy ozone. The microphysics of these particles under cold stratospheric conditions is still uncertain in many respects, in particular concerning phase transitions such as freezing nucleation and deposition nucleation. Furthermore, there are indications that the rates of key heterogeneous reactions have not yet been established with sufficient accuracy to enable a reliable diagnosis of observed ozone losses by means of global models. The present paper reviews the current (late 1996) knowledge of the physico-chemistry of polar stratospheric clouds and evaluates the remaining uncertainties with respect to their ozone depletion potential.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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