08 Jan 2024
 | 08 Jan 2024
Status: this preprint is open for discussion and under review for Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).

Stability requirements of observation systems to detect long-term stratospheric ozone trends based upon Monte Carlo simulations

Mark Weber

Abstract. For new observing systems, particularly satellites, specifications on the stability required for climate variables are provided in order to be useful for certain applications, for instance, deriving long-term trends. The stability is usually stated in units of percent per decade (%/dec) and is often associated with or termed instrument drift. A stability requirement of 3 %/dec or better has been recently stated for tropospheric and stratospheric ozone. However, the way this number is derived is not clear. In this study we use Monte Carlo simulations to investigate how a stability requirement translates into uncertainties of long-term trends depending on the lifetime of individual observing systems, which are merged into timeseries, and the period of available observations. Depending on the need to observe a certain trend over a given period, e.g. typically +1 %/dec for total ozone and +2 %/dec for stratospheric ozone over thirty years, stability for observation systems can be properly specified and justified in order to achieve statistical significance in the observed long-term trend. Assuming a typical mean lifetime of seven years for an individual observing system and a stability of 3 %/dec results in a 2 %/dec trend uncertainty over a period of 30 years, which is barely sufficient for stratospheric ozone but too high for total ozone. Having two or three observing systems simultaneously reduces the uncertainty by 30 % and 42 %, respectively. The method presented here is applicable to any variable of interest for which long-term changes are to be detected.

Mark Weber

Status: open (until 29 Feb 2024)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-3070', Anonymous Referee #1, 31 Jan 2024 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-3070', Anonymous Referee #2, 19 Feb 2024 reply
Mark Weber
Mark Weber


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Short summary
I investigate how stable an observing system, such as a satellite instrument, has to perform to be useful for assessing long-term trends in stratospheric ozone. The stability of an instrument is specified in percent per decade and is also called instrument drift. Instrument drifts add to uncertainties of long-term trends. From simulated time series of ozone based on the Monte Carlo approach, we determine stability requirements that are needed to achieve the desired long-term trend uncertainty.