Articles | Volume 9, issue 6
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 9, 2497–2534, 2016

Special issue: Changes in the vertical distribution of ozone – the SI2N report...

Atmos. Meas. Tech., 9, 2497–2534, 2016

Research article 08 Jun 2016

Research article | 08 Jun 2016

Ground-based assessment of the bias and long-term stability of 14 limb and occultation ozone profile data records

Daan Hubert1, Jean-Christopher Lambert1, Tijl Verhoelst1, José Granville1, Arno Keppens1, Jean-Luc Baray2,3, Adam E. Bourassa4, Ugo Cortesi5, Doug A. Degenstein4, Lucien Froidevaux6, Sophie Godin-Beekmann7, Karl W. Hoppel8, Bryan J. Johnson9, Erkki Kyrölä10, Thierry Leblanc11, Günter Lichtenberg12, Marion Marchand7, C. Thomas McElroy13, Donal Murtagh14, Hideaki Nakane15,16, Thierry Portafaix2, Richard Querel17, James M. Russell III18, Jacobo Salvador19, Herman G. J. Smit20, Kerstin Stebel21, Wolfgang Steinbrecht22, Kevin B. Strawbridge23, René Stübi24, Daan P. J. Swart25, Ghassan Taha26,27, David W. Tarasick23, Anne M. Thompson27, Joachim Urban14,†, Joanna A. E. van Gijsel28, Roeland Van Malderen29, Peter von der Gathen30, Kaley A. Walker31,32, Elian Wolfram19, and Joseph M. Zawodny33 Daan Hubert et al.
  • 1Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB), Brussels, Belgium
  • 2Laboratoire de l'Atmosphère et des Cyclones (Université de La Réunion, CNRS, Météo-France), OSU-Réunion (Université de La Réunion, CNRS), La Réunion, France
  • 3Laboratoire de Météorologie Physique, Observatoire de Physique du Globe de Clermont-Ferrand (Université Blaise Pascal, CNRS), Clermont-Ferrand, France
  • 4Institute of Space and Atmospheric Studies, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada
  • 5Istituto di Fisica Applicata “Nello Carrara” del Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Sesto Fiorentino, Italy
  • 6Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA
  • 7Laboratoire Atmosphère Milieux Observations Spatiales, Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin en Yvelines, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris, France
  • 8Naval Research Lab, Washington, DC, USA
  • 9NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, Global Monitoring Division, Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • 10Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, Finland
  • 11Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Wrightwood, CA, USA
  • 12German Aerospace Center (DLR), Remote Sensing Technology Institute, Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany
  • 13York University, Toronto, ON, Canada
  • 14Department of Earth and Space Sciences, Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, Sweden
  • 15Kochi University of Technology, Kochi, Japan
  • 16National Institute for Environmental Studies, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan
  • 17National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Lauder, New Zealand
  • 18Department of Atmospheric and Planetary Science, Hampton University, VA, USA
  • 19CEILAP-UNIDEF (MINDEF-CONICET), UMI-IFAECI-CNRS-3351, Villa Martelli, Argentina
  • 20Research Centre Jülich, Institute for Energy and Climate Research: Troposphere (IEK-8), Jülich, Germany
  • 21Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU), Kjeller, Norway
  • 22Meteorologisches Observatorium, Deutscher Wetterdienst, Hohenpeissenberg, Germany
  • 23Air Quality Research, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Toronto, ON, Canada
  • 24Payerne Aerological Station, MeteoSwiss, Payerne, Switzerland
  • 25National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Bilthoven, the Netherlands
  • 26Universities Space Research Association, Greenbelt, MD, USA
  • 27NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA
  • 28Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), De Bilt, the Netherlands
  • 29Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium, Brussels, Belgium
  • 30Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Potsdam, Germany
  • 31Department of Physics, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
  • 32Department of Chemistry, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada
  • 33NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA, USA
  • deceased

Abstract. The ozone profile records of a large number of limb and occultation satellite instruments are widely used to address several key questions in ozone research. Further progress in some domains depends on a more detailed understanding of these data sets, especially of their long-term stability and their mutual consistency. To this end, we made a systematic assessment of 14 limb and occultation sounders that, together, provide more than three decades of global ozone profile measurements. In particular, we considered the latest operational Level-2 records by SAGE II, SAGE III, HALOE, UARS MLS, Aura MLS, POAM II, POAM III, OSIRIS, SMR, GOMOS, MIPAS, SCIAMACHY, ACE-FTS and MAESTRO. Central to our work is a consistent and robust analysis of the comparisons against the ground-based ozonesonde and stratospheric ozone lidar networks. It allowed us to investigate, from the troposphere up to the stratopause, the following main aspects of satellite data quality: long-term stability, overall bias and short-term variability, together with their dependence on geophysical parameters and profile representation. In addition, it permitted us to quantify the overall consistency between the ozone profilers. Generally, we found that between 20 and 40 km the satellite ozone measurement biases are smaller than ±5 %, the short-term variabilities are less than 5–12 % and the drifts are at most ±5 % decade−1 (or even ±3 % decade−1 for a few records). The agreement with ground-based data degrades somewhat towards the stratopause and especially towards the tropopause where natural variability and low ozone abundances impede a more precise analysis. In part of the stratosphere a few records deviate from the preceding general conclusions; we identified biases of 10 % and more (POAM II and SCIAMACHY), markedly higher single-profile variability (SMR and SCIAMACHY) and significant long-term drifts (SCIAMACHY, OSIRIS, HALOE and possibly GOMOS and SMR as well). Furthermore, we reflected on the repercussions of our findings for the construction, analysis and interpretation of merged data records. Most notably, the discrepancies between several recent ozone profile trend assessments can be mostly explained by instrumental drift. This clearly demonstrates the need for systematic comprehensive multi-instrument comparison analyses.

Short summary
A more detailed understanding of satellite O3 profile data records is vital for further progress in O3 research. To this end, we made a comprehensive assessment of 14 limb/occultation profilers using ground-based reference data. The mutual consistency of satellite O3 in terms of bias, short-term variability and decadal stability is generally good over most of the stratosphere. However, we identified some exceptions that impact the quality of recently merged data sets and ozone trend assessments.