Articles | Volume 5, issue 11
Research article
02 Nov 2012
Research article |  | 02 Nov 2012

Robust extraction of baseline signal of atmospheric trace species using local regression

A. F. Ruckstuhl, S. Henne, S. Reimann, M. Steinbacher, M. K. Vollmer, S. O'Doherty, B. Buchmann, and C. Hueglin

Abstract. The identification of atmospheric trace species measurements that are representative of well-mixed background air masses is required for monitoring atmospheric composition change at background sites. We present a statistical method based on robust local regression that is well suited for the selection of background measurements and the estimation of associated baseline curves. The bootstrap technique is applied to calculate the uncertainty in the resulting baseline curve. The non-parametric nature of the proposed approach makes it a very flexible data filtering method. Application to carbon monoxide (CO) measured from 1996 to 2009 at the high-alpine site Jungfraujoch (Switzerland, 3580 m a.s.l.), and to measurements of 1,1-difluoroethane (HFC-152a) from Jungfraujoch (2000 to 2009) and Mace Head (Ireland, 1995 to 2009) demonstrates the feasibility and usefulness of the proposed approach.

The determined average annual change of CO at Jungfraujoch for the 1996 to 2009 period as estimated from filtered annual mean CO concentrations is −2.2 ± 1.1 ppb yr−1. For comparison, the linear trend of unfiltered CO measurements at Jungfraujoch for this time period is −2.9 ± 1.3 ppb yr−1.