A global tropospheric ozone climatology from trajectory-mapped ozone soundings
Abstract. A global three-dimensional (i.e. latitude, longitude, altitude) climatology of tropospheric ozone is derived from the ozone sounding record by trajectory mapping. Approximately 52 000 ozonesonde profiles from more than 100 stations worldwide since 1965 are used. The small number of stations results in a sparse geographical distribution. Here, forward and backward trajectory calculations are performed for each sounding to map ozone measurements to a number of other locations, and so to fill in the spatial domain. This is possible because the lifetime of ozone in the troposphere is of the order of weeks. This physically based interpolation method offers obvious advantages over typical statistical interpolation methods. The trajectory-mapped ozone values show reasonable agreement, where they overlap, to the actual soundings, and the patterns produced separately by forward and backward trajectory calculations are similar. Major regional features of the tropospheric ozone distribution are clearly evident in the global maps. An interpolation algorithm based on spherical functions is further used for smoothing and to fill in remaining data gaps. The resulting three-dimensional global tropospheric ozone climatology facilitates visualization and comparison of different years, decades, and seasons, and offers some intriguing insights into the global variation of tropospheric ozone. It will be useful for climate and air quality model initialization and validation, and as an a priori climatology for satellite data retrievals. Further division of the climatology into decadal and annual averages can provide a global view of tropospheric ozone changes, although uncertainties with regard to the performance of older sonde types, as well as more recent variations in operating procedures, need to be taken into account.