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Journal Articles Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene Year : 2019

Tropospheric Ozone Assessment Report: Tropospheric ozone from 1877 to 2016, observed levels, trends and uncertainties

1 Environment and Climate Change Canada
2 CSIRO Climate Science Centre
3 CAC - Centre for Atmospheric Chemistry [Wollongong]
4 CIRES - Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences
5 ESRL - NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory
6 JSC - Jülich Supercomputing Centre
8 JPL - Jet Propulsion Laboratory
9 Ford Motor Company
10 GSFC - NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
11 CfA - Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
12 EMPA - Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology [Dübendorf]
13 D-USYS - Department of Environmental Systems Science [ETH Zürich]
14 BIRA-IASB - Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy / Institut d'Aéronomie Spatiale de Belgique
15 NCAR - National Center for Atmospheric Research [Boulder]
16 IARC - Izaña Atmospheric Research Center
17 LISA (UMR_7583) - Laboratoire Interuniversitaire des Systèmes Atmosphériques
18 Department of Meteorology and Climatology [Thessaloniki]
19 CIMMS - Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies
20 NSSL - National Severe Storms Laboratory
21 Enable Midstream Partners
22 Department of Geography and Planning [University of Toronto]
23 School of Atmospheric Sciences [Nanjing]
24 GFDL - NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory
25 AOS Program - Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Program [Princeton]
26 RSLab - Remote Sensing Laboratory [Barcelona]
27 GML - ESRL Global Monitoring Laboratory [Boulder]
28 LAERO - Laboratoire d'aérologie
29 IPA - DLR Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre
30 IMK-IFU - Institut für Meteorologie und Klimaforschung - Atmosphärische Umweltforschung
Martin G. Schultz
  • Function : Author
  • PersonId : 1008010
Gérard Ancellet
  • Function : Author
  • PersonId : 915258


From the earliest observations of ozone in the lower atmosphere in the 19th century, both measurement methods and the portion of the globe observed have evolved and changed. These methods have di erent uncertainties and biases, and the data records di er with respect to coverage (space and time), information content, and representativeness. In this study, various ozone measurement methods and ozone datasets are reviewed and selected for inclusion in the historical record of background ozone levels, based on relationship of the measurement technique to the modern UV absorption standard, absence of interfering pollutants, representativeness of the well-mixed boundary layer and expert judgement of their credibility. There are signi cant uncertainties with the 19th and early 20th-century measurements related to interference of other gases. Spectroscopic methods applied before 1960 have likely underestimated ozone by as much as 11% at the surface and by about 24% in the free troposphere, due to the use of di ering ozone absorption coe cients. There is no unambiguous evidence in the measurement record back to 1896 that typical mid-latitude background surface ozone values were below about 20 nmol mol–1, but there is robust evidence for increases in the temperate and polar regions of the northern hemisphere of 30–70%, with large uncertainty, between the period of historic observations, 1896–1975, and the modern period (1990–2014). Independent historical observations from balloons and aircraft indicate similar changes in the free troposphere. Changes in the southern hemisphere are much less. Regional representativeness of the available observations remains a potential source of large errors, which are di cult to quantify. The great majority of validation and intercomparison studies of free tropospheric ozone measurement methods use ECC ozonesondes as reference. Compared to UV-absorption measurements they show a modest (~1–5% ±5%) high bias in the troposphere, but no evidence of a change with time. Umkehr, lidar, and FTIR methods all show modest low biases relative to ECCs, and so, using ECC sondes as a transfer standard, all appear to agree to within one standard deviation with the modern UV-absorption standard. Other sonde types show an increase of 5–20% in sensitivity to tropospheric ozone from 1970–1995. Biases and standard deviations of satellite retrieval comparisons are often 2–3 times larger than those of other free tropospheric measurements. The lack of information on temporal changes of bias for satellite measurements of tropospheric ozone is an area of concern for long-term trend studies.
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insu-02317219 , version 1 (16-10-2019)



David Tarasick, Ian E. Galbally, Owen R. Cooper, Martin G. Schultz, Gérard Ancellet, et al.. Tropospheric Ozone Assessment Report: Tropospheric ozone from 1877 to 2016, observed levels, trends and uncertainties. Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene, 2019, 7 (1), art. 39 (72 p.). ⟨10.1525/elementa.376⟩. ⟨insu-02317219⟩
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