Compilation of Global Surface Ozone Observations for Earth System Model Trend Evaluation

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Eric D Sofen, The University of York, York, United Kingdom and Mathew J Evans, University of York, York, United Kingdom
Tropospheric ozone is detrimental to human health and ecosystems, is a greenhouse gas, and plays a role in removing pollutants from the atmosphere. Since the first observations of its concentration in the late 19th century, it has been measured by a range of different approaches (surface instrumental, sondes, satellites). In the last 40 years, global (WMO GAW) and regional networks (EMEP, CASTNET, ...) have been initiated to measure its surface concentration. For data analysis and model comparisons a synthesis of all of this data needs to be undertaken.

In this work we collate these observations into a single dataset with some initial quality control and handling of meta-data. We can then generate a range of products (means, medians, percentiles, standard deviations, AOT40, SUMO35, etc.) over a range of timescales (hourly, daily, monthly, annual) on user specified grids suitable for data analysis and model evaluation.

We apply objective statistical techniques developed by the paleoclimate reconstruction community to interpolate the data spatially to reconstruct a global map and time series of surface ozone. Novelly, we use global chemical transport model output to infer each measurement’s spatial representativeness to account for lifetime and meteorology. We present results of the global interpolation and global and regional averages in surface ozone over the past 40 years and compare them to models. We find that the observational coverage peaked around the year 2002 with good coverage over the northern midlatitudes and Antarctica but poor coverage over the tropics and Southern Hemisphere subtropics due to both the lack of observations and the short lifetime of tropical ozone. Significantly more ozone observations are made globally than are reported to the international datasets reducing the usefulness of these individual observations and making understanding ozone on both regional and global scale more difficult. New observations of surface ozone through the tropical oceans, South America and Africa would significantly enhance our ability to observe this important pollutant at the surface.