Articles | Volume 6, issue 10
Research article
07 Oct 2013
Research article |  | 07 Oct 2013

Solar Backscatter UV (SBUV) total ozone and profile algorithm

P. K. Bhartia, R. D. McPeters, L. E. Flynn, S. Taylor, N. A. Kramarova, S. Frith, B. Fisher, and M. DeLand

Abstract. We describe the algorithm that has been applied to develop a 42 yr record of total ozone and ozone profiles from eight Solar Backscatter UV (SBUV) instruments launched on NASA and NOAA satellites since April 1970. The Version 8 (V8) algorithm was released more than a decade ago and has been in use since then at NOAA to produce their operational ozone products. The current algorithm (V8.6) is basically the same as V8, except for updates to instrument calibration, incorporation of new ozone absorption cross-sections, and new ozone and cloud height climatologies. Since the V8 algorithm has been optimized for deriving monthly zonal mean (MZM) anomalies for ozone assessment and model comparisons, our emphasis in this paper is primarily on characterizing the sources of errors that are relevant for such studies. When data are analyzed this way the effect of some errors, such as vertical smoothing of short-term variability, and noise due to clouds and aerosols diminish in importance, while the importance of others, such as errors due to vertical smoothing of the quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) and other periodic and aperiodic variations, become more important. With V8.6 zonal mean data we now provide smoothing kernels that can be used to compare anomalies in SBUV profile and partial ozone columns with models. In this paper we show how to use these kernels to compare SBUV data with Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) ozone profiles. These kernels are particularly useful for comparisons in the lower stratosphere where SBUV profiles have poor vertical resolution but partial column ozone values have high accuracy. We also provide our best estimate of the smoothing errors associated with SBUV MZM profiles. Since smoothing errors are the largest source of uncertainty in these profiles, they can be treated as error bars in deriving interannual variability and trends using SBUV data and for comparing with other measurements. In the V8 and V8.6 algorithms we derive total column ozone by integrating the SBUV profiles, rather than from a separate set of wavelengths, as was done in previous algorithm versions. This allows us to extend the total ozone retrieval to 88° solar zenith angle (SZA). Since the quality of total column data is affected by reduced sensitivity to ozone in the lower atmosphere by cloud and Rayleigh attenuation, which gets worse with increasing SZA, we provide our best estimate of these errors, as well as the kernels that can be used to test the sensitivity of the derived columns to long-term changes in ozone in the lower atmosphere.