Articles | Volume 7, issue 1
Research article
28 Jan 2014
Research article |  | 28 Jan 2014

Trajectory matching of ozonesondes and MOZAIC measurements in the UTLS – Part 2: Application to the global ozonesonde network

J. Staufer, J. Staehelin, R. Stübi, T. Peter, F. Tummon, and V. Thouret

Abstract. Both balloon-borne electrochemical ozonesondes and MOZAIC (measurements of ozone, water vapour, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides by in-service Airbus aircraft) provide very valuable data sets for ozone studies in the upper troposphere/lower stratosphere (UTLS). Although MOZAIC's highly accurate UV-photometers are regularly inspected and recalibrated annually, recent analyses cast some doubt on the long-term stability of their ozone analysers. To investigate this further, we perform a 16 yr comparison (1994–2009) of UTLS ozone measurements from balloon-borne ozonesondes and MOZAIC. The analysis uses fully three-dimensional trajectories computed from ERA-Interim (European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts Re-analysis) wind fields to find matches between the two measurement platforms. Although different sensor types (Brewer-Mast and Electrochemical Concentration Cell ozonesondes) were used, most of the 28 launch sites considered show considerable differences of up to 25% compared to MOZAIC in the mid-1990s, followed by a systematic tendency to smaller differences of around 5–10% in subsequent years. The reason for the difference before 1998 remains unclear, but observations from both sondes and MOZAIC require further examination to be reliable enough for use in robust long-term trend analyses starting before 1998. According to our analysis, ozonesonde measurements at tropopause altitudes appear to be rather insensitive to changing the type of the Electrochemical Concentration Cell ozonesonde, provided the cathode sensing solution strength remains unchanged. Scoresbysund (Greenland) showed systematically 5% higher readings after changing from Science Pump Corporation sondes to ENSCI Corporation sondes, while a 1.0% KI cathode electrolyte was retained.