Analysis of the distribution of ozone over the southern Atlantic region


  • Jennifer Richardson Olson,

  • Jack Fishman,

  • Volker W. J. H. Kirchhoff,

  • Dominique Nganga,

  • Bernard Cros


Tropospheric ozone data measured by ozonesondes during the Transport and Atmospheric Chemistry Near the Equator-Atlantic (TRACE A) field mission and the multiyear pre-TRACE A program are analyzed jointly with tropospheric ozone amounts derived from remote satellite data (“residuals”). We present here the first detailed analysis of the entire Ascension Island pre-TRACE A data set. Data from the three pre-TRACE A ozonesonde sites are used to establish a coherent spatial and temporal climatology of ozone in the southern tropical Atlantic region. This analysis shows a significant ozone seasonality over the Atlantic region, with a period of maximum values that extends from the austral winter through at least October at Natal, Brazil, and Ascension Island. Concentrations begin to decline somewhat earlier at Brazzaville, Congo, especially at lower altitudes. Although Natal exhibits a significantly lower annual average than Ascension Island or Brazzaville by about 4 Dobson Units (DU), the magnitude of the seasonal amplitude at Natal is the largest of the three stations. Additionally, more of the seasonal amplitude at Natal is due to a contribution from ozone in the middle and upper troposphere than at either Ascension Island or Brazzaville. Amplitudes as large as 15 DU are measured at individual sites, and the residuals show an average amplitude over the southern tropical Atlantic region of 10–12 DU. Statistical comparison of the residuals to the ozonesonde climatology show that while the residuals tend to underpredict both the means and the seasonal amplitudes compared to the in situ data, they provide a good representation of the variance of ozone in this region and predict the local annual and seasonal means to within better than 10% and seasonal amplitudes to within 15%.