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Keywords:

  • Europe;
  • MOZAIC;
  • ozone sondes;
  • ozone trends;
  • tropospheric ozone

[1] We use ozone observations from sondes, regular aircraft, and alpine surface sites in a self-consistent analysis to determine robust changes in the time evolution of ozone over Europe. The data are most coherent since 1998, with similar interannual variability and trends. Ozone has decreased slowly since 1998, with an annual mean trend of −0.15 ppb yr−1 at ∼3 km and the largest decrease in summer. There are some substantial differences between the sondes and other data, particularly in the early 1990s. The alpine and aircraft data show that ozone increased from late 1994 until 1998, but the sonde data do not. Time series of differences in ozone between pairs of locations reveal inconsistencies in various data sets. Differences as small as few ppb for 2–3 years lead to different trends for 1995–2008, when all data sets overlap. Sonde data from Hohenpeissenberg and in situ data from nearby Zugspitze show ozone increased by ∼1 ppb yr−1 during 1978–1989. We construct a mean alpine time series using data for Jungfraujoch, Zugspitze, and Sonnblick. Using Zugspitze data for 1978–1989, and the mean time series since 1990, we find that the ozone increased by 6.5–10 ppb in 1978–1989 and 2.5–4.5 ppb in the 1990s and decreased by 4 ppb in the 2000s in summer with no significant changes in other seasons. It is hard to reconcile all these changes with trends in emissions of ozone precursors, and in ozone in the lowermost stratosphere. We recommend data sets that are suitable for evaluation of model hindcasts.