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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  28 Jul 2020

28 Jul 2020

Review status
A revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Total column ozone in New Zealand and in the UK in the 1950s

Stefan Brönnimann1,2 and Sylvia Nichol3 Stefan Brönnimann and Sylvia Nichol
  • 1Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Bern, Switzerland
  • 2Institute of Geography, University of Bern, Switzerland
  • 3National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), Wellington, New Zealand

Abstract. Total column ozone measurements reach back almost a century. Historical column ozone data are important to obtain a long term perspective of changes of the ozone layer, but arguably also as diagnostics of lower stratospheric or tropopause-level flow in time periods of sparse upper-air observations. With the exception of few high quality records such as that from Arosa, Switzerland, ozone science has almost exclusively focused on data since the International Geophysical Year (IGY) in 1957, although earlier series exist. In the early 2000s, we have digitised and re-evaluated many pre-IGY series. Here we add a series from Wellington, New Zealand, 1951–1959. We re-evaluated the data from the original observation sheets, performed quality control analysis and present the data. The day-to-day variability can be used to assess the quality of reanalysis products, since the data cover a region and time period with only few upper-air data. Comparison with total column ozone in the reanalyses ERA-PreSAT (which assimilates upper-air data), 20CRv3 and CERA20C (which do not assimilate upper-air data) shows high correlations with all three. Although trend quality is doubtful (no calibration information and no intercomparisons are available), combining the record with other available data (including historical data from Australian locations) allows a 70-year perspective of ozone changes over the southern midlatitudes. The series is available from the World Ozone and Ultraviolet Data Centre. Finally, we also present a short series from Downham Market, UK, covering November 1950 to October 1951, and publish it with further historical data series that were previously described but not published.

Stefan Brönnimann and Sylvia Nichol

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Stefan Brönnimann and Sylvia Nichol

Stefan Brönnimann and Sylvia Nichol


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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Historical column ozone data from New Zealand and the UK from the 1950s are digitized and re-evaluated. They allow studying the ozone layer prior to the era of ozone depletion. Day-to-day changes are addressed, which reflect the flow near the tropopause and hence may serve as a diagnostic for atmospheric circulation in a time and region when radiosondes are sparse. A long-term comparison shows the amount of ozone depletion at southern midlatitudes and indicates how far we are from full recovery.
Historical column ozone data from New Zealand and the UK from the 1950s are digitized and...