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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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Atmos. Meas. Tech., 9, 2497-2534, 2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
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 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
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
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.

Citation: Hubert, D., Lambert, J.-C., Verhoelst, T., Granville, J., Keppens, A., Baray, J.-L., Bourassa, A. E., Cortesi, U., Degenstein, D. A., Froidevaux, L., Godin-Beekmann, S., Hoppel, K. W., Johnson, B. J., Kyrölä, E., Leblanc, T., Lichtenberg, G., Marchand, M., McElroy, C. T., Murtagh, D., Nakane, H., Portafaix, T., Querel, R., Russell III, J. M., Salvador, J., Smit, H. G. J., Stebel, K., Steinbrecht, W., Strawbridge, K. B., Stübi, R., Swart, D. P. J., Taha, G., Tarasick, D. W., Thompson, A. M., Urban, J., van Gijsel, J. A. E., Van Malderen, R., von der Gathen, P., Walker, K. A., Wolfram, E., and Zawodny, J. M.: Ground-based assessment of the bias and long-term stability of 14 limb and occultation ozone profile data records, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 9, 2497-2534,, 2016.
Publications Copernicus
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.
A more detailed understanding of satellite O3 profile data records is vital for further progress...