A cooperative effort to study ozone and other gases that could affect Earth's climate is being launched by scientists from the United States and the Soviet Union.
The new agreement, announced yesterday, calls for a particular emphasis on Antarctica, where scientists have detected a hole in the ozone layer high in the atmosphere. The ozone layer protects the world from damaging ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
Officials of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the new agreement expands programs for the exchange of weather information.
The new studies will look at the atmosphere above Antarctica from above and below, NOAA said.
The United States will collect daily ozone profiles from its weather satellites orbiting over the South Pole. Soviet scientists working from their research station in Antarctica will collect data from the ground. They will use instruments supplied and calibrated by NOAA's national research laboratory in Boulder, Colo.
That will allow all the data collected to be comparable, so that scientists from both countries can more easily share the findings.
The hole in the ozone over Antarctica appears in the spring in that hemisphere -- September and October -- and closes in the winter. But scientists say it seems to deepen each year, and they fear that it reflects ozone depletion over much of the globe.