1Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy, BIRA-IASB, Ringlaan 3, 1080 Brussels, Belgium
2Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute, KNMI, P.O. Box 201, 3730 AE De Bilt, the Netherlands
3German Aerospace Center, DLR, Muenchner Str. 20, 82234 Wessling, Germany
4European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts, ECMWF, Shinfield Park, Reading RG2 9AX, UK
5Research Center Jülich, FZJ, Institute for Energy and Climate Research, IEK-8: Troposphere, Wilhelm-Johnen-Straße, 52428 Jülich, Germany
6Deutscher Wetterdienst, DWD, Meteorologisches Observatorium Hohenpeissenberg, Albin-Schwaiger-Weg 10, 82383 Hohenpeissenberg, Germany
Abstract. This paper evaluates the performance of the stratospheric ozone analyses delivered in near real time by the MACC (Monitoring Atmospheric Composition and Climate) project during the 3 year period between September 2009 and September 2012. Ozone analyses produced by four different chemistry transport models and data assimilation techniques are examined: the ECMWF Integrated Forecast System (IFS) coupled to MOZART-3 (IFS-MOZART), the BIRA-IASB Belgian Assimilation System for Chemical ObsErvations (BASCOE), the DLR/RIU Synoptic Analysis of Chemical Constituents by Advanced Data Assimilation (SACADA), and the KNMI Data Assimilation Model based on Transport Model version 3 (TM3DAM). The assimilated satellite ozone retrievals differed for each system: SACADA and TM3DAM assimilated only total ozone observations, BASCOE assimilated profiles for ozone and some related species, while IFS-MOZART assimilated both types of ozone observations.
The stratospheric ozone analyses are compared to independent ozone observations from ground-based instruments, ozone sondes and the ACE-FTS (Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment – Fourier Transform Spectrometer) satellite instrument. All analyses show total column values which are generally in good agreement with groundbased observations (biases <5%) and a realistic seasonal cycle. The only exceptions are found for BASCOE which systematically underestimates total ozone in the Tropics with about 7–10% at Chengkung (Taiwan, 23.1° N/121.365° E), resulting from the fact that BASCOE does not include any tropospheric processes, and for SACADA which overestimates total ozone in the absence of UV observations for the assimilation.
Due to the large weight given to column observations in the assimilation procedure, IFS-MOZART is able to reproduce total column observations very well, but alternating positive and negative biases compared to ozonesonde and ACE-FTS satellite data are found in the vertical as well as an overestimation of 30 to 60% in the polar lower stratosphere during ozone depletion events. The assimilation of near real-time (NRT) Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) profiles which only go down to 68 hPa is not able to correct for the deficiency of the underlying MOZART model, which may be related to the applied meteorological fields.
Biases of BASCOE compared to ozonesonde or ACE-FTS ozone profiles do not exceed 10% over the entire vertical stratospheric range, thanks to the good performance of the model in ozone hole conditions and the assimilation of offline MLS profiles going down to 215 hPa.
TM3DAM provides very realistic total ozone columns, but is not designed to provide information on the vertical distribution of ozone.
Compared to ozonesondes and ACE-FTS satellite data, SACADA performs best in the Arctic, but shows large biases (>50%) for ozone in the lower stratosphere in the Tropics and in the Antarctic, especially during ozone hole conditions.
This study shows that ozone analyses with realistic total ozone column densities do not necessarily yield good agreement with the observed ozone profiles. It also shows the large benefit obtained from the assimilation of a single limb-scanning instrument (Aura MLS) with a high density of observations. Hence even state-of-the-art models of stratospheric chemistry still require the assimilation of limb observations for a correct representation of the vertical distribution of ozone in the stratosphere.