Zonal Similarity of Long-Term Changes and Seasonal Cycles of Baseline Ozone at Northern Midlatitudes
Journal- or magazine-article
Parrish, David D. and Derwent, Richard G. and Steinbrecht, Wolfgang and Stübi, René and Van Malderen, Roeland and Steinbacher, Martin and Trickl, Thomas and Ries, Ludwig and Xu, Xiaobin
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
baseline ozone, long-term changes, seasonal cycle, zonal similarity, ozone maximum
Abstract The lifetime of ozone in the troposphere is approximately 3 weeks. Prevailing westerly winds at northern midlatitudes can transport air around the globe in that time. Hence, within these latitudes zonal similarity is expected in long-term changes and seasonal cycles of concentrations of baseline ozone. We quantify the degree of zonal similarity by examining eight in situ baseline ozone data sets near the west coasts of North America and Europe, that is, upwind of those continents and downwind of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, where the impacts of local and regional ozone sources have been largely mixed into the troposphere, giving the best-defined baseline ozone signature. Zonal similarity is found in both long-term changes and seasonal cycles. The decades-long increase in Northern Hemisphere, midlatitude baseline mixing ratios (average ~0.60 ppb year−1 from 1980–2000), has ended, with a maximum reached in the mid-2000s, followed by slow decrease (average = −0.09 ± 0.08 ppb year−1 from 2000 to the present). The year of the ozone maximum exhibits little if any statistically significant difference with location, altitude, or season. The ozone seasonal cycle differs markedly between sea-level coastal stations representative of the marine boundary layer and the free troposphere sampled at elevated sites and by sondes and aircraft. However, within each of these broad tropospheric layers, the seasonal cycles are similar at all locations. Vertical profiles of the parameters that define the long-term trends and the seasonal cycle are also similar between North America and Europe.