21 Nov 2020

21 Nov 2020

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

Overview and update of the SPARC Data Initiative: Comparison of stratospheric composition measurements from satellite limb sounders

Michaela I. Hegglin1, Susann Tegtmeier2, John Anderson3, Adam E. Bourassa4, Samuel Brohede5, Doug Degenstein4, Lucien Froidevaux6, Bernd Funke7, John Gille8, Yasuko Kasai9, Erkki Kyrölä10, Jerry Lumpe11, Donal Murtagh12, Jessica L. Neu6, Kristell Pérot12, Ellis Remsberg13, Alexey Rozanov14, Matthew Toohey2, Joachim Urban12,, Thomas von Clarmann15, Kaley A. Walker16, Hsiang-Jui Wang17, Carlo Arosio14, Robert Damadeo13, Ryan Fuller6, Gretchen Lingenfelser13, Christopher McLinden18, Diane Pendlebury18, Chris Roth4, Niall J. Ryan16, Christopher Sioris18, Lesley Smith19, and Katja Weigel14 Michaela I. Hegglin et al.
  • 1Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, Reading, United Kingdom
  • 2GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Kiel, Germany
  • 3Atmospheric Science, Hampton University, Hampton, VA, United States
  • 4University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada
  • 5FluxSense AB, Gothenburg, Sweden
  • 6Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, United States
  • 7Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía, CSIC, Granada, Spain
  • 8National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, United States
  • 9National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, Tokyo, Japan
  • 10Earth observation, Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, Finland
  • 11Computational Physics, Inc., Boulder, CO, United States
  • 12Department of Space, Earth, and Environment , Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg Sweden
  • 13NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA, United States
  • 14Institute of Environmental Physics (IUP), University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany
  • 15Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, IMK, Karlsruhe, Germany
  • 16Department of Physics, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
  • 17School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, United States
  • 18Environment and Climate Change Canada, Toronto, Canada
  • 19Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, United States
  • deceased

Abstract. The SPARC Data Initiative (SPARC, 2017) performed the first comprehensive assessment of currently available stratospheric composition measurements obtained from an international suite of space-based limb sounders. The initiative's main objectives were (1) to assess the state of data availability, (2) to compile vertically resolved, monthly zonal mean trace gas and aerosol climatologies, and (3) to perform a detailed inter-comparison of these climatologies, summarising useful information and highlighting differences among datasets. The vertically-resolved climatologies of 26 different atmospheric constituents extending over the region from the upper troposphere to the lower mesosphere (300–0.1 hPa) are provided on a common latitude-pressure grid and include most major long-lived trace gases (O3, H2O, N2O, CH4, CCl3F, and CCl2F2), transport tracers (HF, SF6, HCl, CO, HNO3, NOy), and shorter-lived trace gases important to stratospheric chemistry including nitrogens (NO, NO2, NOx, NO5, and HNO4), halogens (BrO, ClO, ClONO2 and HOCl), and other minor species (OH, HO2, CH2O, CH3CN), and aerosol. This overview of the SPARC Data Initiative introduces the updated versions of the SPARC Data Initiative climatologies for the extended time period 1979–2018 and provides information on the satellite instruments included in the assessment: LIMS, SAGE I/II/III, HALOE, UARS-MLS, POAM II/III, OSIRIS, SMR, MIPAS, GOMOS, SCIAMACHY, ACE-FTS, ACE-MAESTRO, Aura-MLS, HIRDLS, SMILES, OMPS-LP, and TES. It describes the Data Initiative's top-down approach to comparing stratospheric composition measurements based on zonal monthly mean climatologies which provides upper bounds to relative inter-instrument biases and an assessment of how well the instruments are able to capture geophysical features of the stratosphere. An update to previously published evaluations of ozone and water vapour monthly mean climatologies is provided. In addition, example trace gas evaluations of methane (CH4), carbon monoxide (CO), a set of nitrogen species (NO, NO2, and HNO3), the reactive nitrogen family (NOy), and hydroperoxyl (HO2) are presented. The results highlight the quality, strengths and weaknesses, and representativeness of the different datasets. As intended summary, the current state of our knowledge of stratospheric composition and variability is provided based on the overall consistency between the datasets. The updated SPARC Data Initiative monthly zonal mean climatologies are publicly available and accessible via the Zenodo data archive (Hegglin et al., 2020,

Michaela I. Hegglin et al.

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Michaela I. Hegglin et al.

Data sets

SPARC Data Initiative monthly zonal mean composition measurements from stratospheric limb sounders (1978-2018) Hegglin, M. I., Tegtmeier, S., Anderson, J., Bourassa, A. E., Brohede, S., Degenstein, D., Froidevaux, L., Funke, B., Gille, J., Kasai, Y., Kyrölä, E., Lumpe, J., Murtagh, D., Neu, J. L., Pérot, K., Remsberg, E., Rozanov, A., Toohey, M., von Clarmann, T., Walker, K. A., Wang, H.-J., Damadeo, R., Fuller, R., Lingenfelser, G., Roth, C., Ryan, N. J., Sioris, C., Smith, L., and Weigel, K.

Michaela I. Hegglin et al.


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Short summary
This paper provides an overview of the SPARC Data Initiative, to date the most comprehensive assessment of vertically resolved stratospheric composition measurements spanning the past 4 decades (1979-2018). The measurements of 26 different chemical constituents were obtained from an international suite of space-based limb sounders and compiled into vertically resolved, zonal monthly mean climatologies. Their quality and consistency is discussed based on a range of evaluation diagnostics.