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Nacreous Clouds Above Ross Island
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Nacreous Clouds Above Ross Island

August 1, 2011
Nacreous clouds above Ross Island, Antarctica. These polar stratospheric clouds, at 80,000 feet, are the highest of all clouds. They only occur in the polar regions when the stratospheric temperature dips below 100 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. They are also the site of chemical reactions that break down ozone in the upper atmosphere and contribute to the creation of the ozone hole above Antarctica.

Atmospheric research is just one example of the many science disciplines supported by the National Science Foundation's U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP). Other Antarctic study areas are aeronomy and astrophysics, biology and medicine, geology and geophysics, glaciology, and ocean and climate systems. Outreach, such as the Antarctic Artists and Writers program, and education programs are also supported. For more information about USAP, visit the program's website Here.