Ground-based assessment of the bias and long-term stability of 14 limb and occultation ozone profile data records
Journal article, 2016

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 40km 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.


D. Hubert

Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB)

Jean Christopher Lambert

Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB)

T. Verhoelst

Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB)

José Granville

Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB)

Arno Keppens

Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB)

Jean Luc Baray

Observatoire de Physique du Globe Clermont Ferrand (OPGC)

Université de La Réunion

A. E. Bourassa

University of Saskatchewan

Ugo Cortesi

Istituto Di Fisica Applicata Nello Carrara

D. A. Degenstein

University of Saskatchewan

L. Froidevaux

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology

Sophie Godin-Beekmann

Universite de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines

K. Hoppel

Naval Research Laboratory

Bryan J. Johnson

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

E. Kyrölä

Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI)

Thierry Leblanc

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology

Günter Lichtenberg

German Aerospace Center (DLR)

Marion Marchand

Universite de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines

C. T. McElroy

York University

Donal Murtagh

Chalmers, Earth and Space Sciences, Global Environmental Measurements and Modelling

Hideaki Nakane

National Institute for Environmental Studies of Japan

Kochi University of Technology

Thierry Portafaix

Université de La Réunion

Richard Querel

National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA)

James M. Russell

Hampton University

Jacobo Salvador


Herman G J Smit

Forschungszentrum Jülich

Kerstin Stebel

Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU)

Wolfgang Steinbrecht

Deutscher Wetterdienst

Kevin B. Strawbridge

Environment Canada

René Stübi

Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology MeteoSwiss

D. P. J. Swart

Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment

G. Taha

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Universities Space Research Association

David W. Tarasick

Environment Canada

Anne M. Thompson

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Joachim Urban

Chalmers, Earth and Space Sciences, Global Environmental Measurements and Modelling

Joanna A E Van Gijsel

Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute

Roeland Van Malderen

Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium

Peter Von Der Gathen


K. A. Walker

University of Toronto

University of Waterloo

Elian Wolfram


J. Zawodny

NASA Langley Research Center

Atmospheric Measurement Techniques

1867-1381 (ISSN) 1867-8548 (eISSN)

Vol. 9 6 2497-2534

Subject Categories

Earth and Related Environmental Sciences



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