TROPOMI tropospheric ozone column data: geophysical assessment and comparison to ozonesondes, GOME-2B and OMI
da Silva, F.R.
Earth and related Environmental sciences
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Ozone in the troposphere affects humans and ecosystems as a pollutant and as a greenhouse gas. Observing, understanding and modelling this dual role, as well as monitoring effects of international regulations on air quality and climate change, however, challenge measurement systems to operate at opposite ends of the spatio-temporal scale ladder. Aboard the ESA/EU Copernicus Sentinel-5 Precursor (S5P) satellite launched in October 2017, the TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) aspires to take the next leap forward by measuring ozone and its precursors at unprecedented horizontal resolution until at least the mid-2020s. In this work, we assess the quality of TROPOMI's first release (V01.01.05–08) of tropical tropospheric ozone column (TrOC) data. Derived with the convective cloud differential (CCD) method, TROPOMI daily TrOC data represent the 3 d moving mean ozone column between the surface and 270 hPa under clear-sky conditions gridded at 0.5∘ latitude by 1∘ longitude resolution. Comparisons to almost 2 years of co-located SHADOZ ozonesonde and satellite data (Aura OMI and MetOp-B GOME-2) conclude to TROPOMI biases between −0.1 and +2.3 DU (<+13 %) when averaged over the tropical belt. The field of the bias is essentially uniform in space (deviations <1 DU) and stable in time at the 1.5–2.5 DU level. However, the record is still fairly short, and continued monitoring will be key to clarify whether observed patterns and stability persist, alter behaviour or disappear. Biases are partially due to TROPOMI and the reference data records themselves, but they can also be linked to systematic effects of the non-perfect co-locations. Random uncertainty due to co-location mismatch contributes considerably to the 2.6–4.6 DU (∼14 %–23 %) statistical dispersion observed in the difference time series. We circumvent part of this problem by employing the triple co-location analysis technique and infer that TROPOMI single-measurement precision is better than 1.5–2.5 DU (∼8 %–13 %), in line with uncertainty estimates reported in the data files. Hence, the TROPOMI precision is judged to be 20 %–25 % better than for its predecessors OMI and GOME-2B, while sampling at 4 times better spatial resolution and almost 2 times better temporal resolution. Using TROPOMI tropospheric ozone columns at maximal resolution nevertheless requires consideration of correlated errors at small scales of up to 5 DU due to the inevitable interplay of satellite orbit and cloud coverage. Two particular types of sampling error are investigated, and we suggest how these can be identified or remedied. Our study confirms that major known geophysical patterns and signals of the tropical tropospheric ozone field are imprinted in TROPOMI's 2-year data record. These include the permanent zonal wave-one pattern, the pervasive annual and semiannual cycles, the high levels of ozone due to biomass burning around the Atlantic basin, and enhanced convective activity cycles associated with the Madden–Julian Oscillation over the Indo-Pacific warm pool. TROPOMI's combination of higher precision and higher resolution reveals details of these patterns and the processes involved, at considerably smaller spatial and temporal scales and with more complete coverage than contemporary satellite sounders. If the accuracy of future TROPOMI data proves to remain stable with time, these hold great potential to be included in Climate Data Records, as well as serve as a travelling standard to interconnect the upcoming constellation of air quality satellites in geostationary and low Earth orbits.
CitationHubert, D.; Heue, K.-P.; Lambert, J.-C.; Verhoelst, T.; Allaart, M.; Compernolle, S.; Cullis, P.D.; Dehn, A.; Félix, C.; Johnson, B.J.; Keppens, A.; Kollonige, D.E.; Lerot, C.; Loyola, D.; Maata, M.; Mitro, S.; Mohamad, M.; Piters, A.; Romahn, F.; Selkirk, H.B.; da Silva, F.R.; Stauffer, R.M.; Thompson, A.M.; Veefkind, J.P.; Vömel, H.; Witte, J.C.; Zehner, C. (2021). TROPOMI tropospheric ozone column data: geophysical assessment and comparison to ozonesondes, GOME-2B and OMI. , Atmospheric Measurement Techniques, Vol. 14, Issue 12, 7405-7433, DOI: 10.5194/amt-14-7405-2021.