Articles | Volume 9, issue 1
Research article
25 Jan 2016
Research article |  | 25 Jan 2016

A re-evaluated Canadian ozonesonde record: measurements of the vertical distribution of ozone over Canada from 1966 to 2013

D. W. Tarasick, J. Davies, H. G. J. Smit, and S. J. Oltmans

Abstract. In Canada routine ozone soundings have been carried at Resolute Bay since 1966, making this record the longest in the world. Similar measurements started in the 1970s at three other sites, and the network was expanded in stages to 10 sites by 2003. This important record for understanding long-term changes in tropospheric and stratospheric ozone has been re-evaluated as part of the SPARC/IO3C/IGACO-O3/NDACC (SI2N) initiative. The Brewer–Mast sonde, used in the Canadian network until 1980, is different in construction from the electrochemical concentration cell (ECC) sonde, and the ECC sonde itself has also undergone a variety of minor design changes over the period 1980–2013. Corrections have been made for the estimated effects of these changes to produce a more homogeneous data set.

The effect of the corrections is generally modest. However, the overall result is entirely positive: the comparison with co-located total ozone spectrometers is improved, in terms of both bias and standard deviation, and trends in the bias have been reduced or eliminated. An uncertainty analysis (including the additional uncertainty from the corrections, where appropriate) has also been conducted, and the altitude-dependent estimated uncertainty is included with each revised profile.

The resulting time series show negative trends in the lower stratosphere of up to 5 % decade−1 for the period 1966–2013. Most of this decline occurred before 1997, and linear trends for the more recent period are generally not significant. The time series also show large variations from year to year. Some of these anomalies can be related to cold winters (in the Arctic stratosphere) or changes in the Brewer–Dobson circulation, which may thereby be influencing trends.

In the troposphere, trends for the 48-year period are small and for the most part not significant. This suggests that ozone levels in the free troposphere over Canada have not changed significantly in nearly 50 years.

Short summary
Changes to measurement methods over Canada's 48-year ozonesonde record have been characterized and corrections applied. An estimate of the altitude-dependent uncertainty is added to each profile. The re-evaluated time series show negative trends in the lower stratosphere of up to 5 % per decade for the period 1966–2013. In the troposphere trends for the 48-year period are generally not significant. This suggests that free tropospheric ozone levels over Canada have not changed in nearly 50 years.