Investigation of satellite vertical sensitivity on long-term retrieved lower tropospheric ozone trends
Abstract. Ozone is a potent air pollutant in the lower troposphere and an important short-lived climate forcer (SLCF) in the upper troposphere. Studies investigating long-term trends in tropospheric column ozone (TCO3) have shown large-scale spatiotemporal inconsistencies. Here, we investigate the long-term trends in lower tropospheric column ozone (LTCO3, surface-450 hPa sub-column) by exploiting a synergy of satellite and ozonesonde datasets and an Earth System Model (UKESM) over North America, Europe and East Asia for the decade 2008–2017. Overall, we typically find small LTCO3 linear trends with large uncertainty ranges from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) and the Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI), while model simulations indicate a stable LTCO3 tendency. Trends in the satellite a priori datasets show negligible trends indicating year-to-year sampling is not an issue. The application of the satellite averaging kernels (AKs) to the UKESM ozone profiles, accounting for the satellite vertical sensitivity and allowing for like-for-like comparisons, has a limited impact on the modelled LTCO3 tendency in most cases. While, in relative terms, this is more substantial (e.g. in the order of 100 %), the absolute magnitudes of the model trends show negligible change. However, as the model has a near-zero tendency, artificial trends were imposed on the model time-series (i.e. LTCO3 values rearranged from smallest to largest) to test the influence of the AKs but simulated LTCO3 trends remained small. Therefore, the LTCO3 tendency between 2008 and 2017 in northern hemispheric regions are likely small, with large uncertainties, and it is difficult to detect any small underlying linear trends due to inter-annual variability or other factors which require further investigation.
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