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Keywords:

  • ozonesonde;
  • troposphere;
  • air quality

[1] During July and August, 2004, balloon-borne ozonesondes were released daily at 12 sites in the eastern USA and Canada, producing the largest single set of free tropospheric ozone measurements ever compiled for this region. At the same time, a number of air quality forecast models were run daily as part of a larger field experiment. In this paper, we compare these ozonesonde profiles with predicted ozone profiles from several versions of two of these forecast models, the Environment Canada CHRONOS and AURAMS models. We find that the models show considerable skill at predicting ozone in the planetary boundary layer and immediately above. Individual station biases are variable, but often small. Standard deviations of observation-forecast differences are large, however. Ozone variability in the models is somewhat higher than observed. Most strikingly, none of the model versions is able to reproduce the typical tropospheric ozone profile of increasing mixing ratio with altitude. Results from a sensitivity test suggest that the form of the ozone lateral boundary condition used by all model versions contributes significantly to the large ozone underpredictions in the middle and upper troposphere. The discrepancy could be reduced further by adding a downward flux of ozone from the model lid and by accounting for in situ production of ozone from lightning-generated NOx.