1CERFACS and CNRS, URA1875, Toulouse, France
2CNRM-GAME, Météo-France and CNRS, UMR3589, Toulouse, France
3Laboratoire d'Aérologie/OMP, Université de Toulouse and CNRS, UMR5560, Toulouse, France
4ECMWF, Reading, UK
Abstract. Accurate and temporally resolved fields of free-troposphere ozone are of major importance to quantify the intercontinental transport of pollution and the ozone radiative forcing. We consider a global chemical transport model (MOdèle de Chimie Atmosphérique à Grande Échelle, MOCAGE) in combination with a linear ozone chemistry scheme to examine the impact of assimilating observations from the Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) and the Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI). The assimilation of the two instruments is performed by means of a variational algorithm (4D-VAR) and allows to constrain stratospheric and tropospheric ozone simultaneously. The analysis is first computed for the months of August and November 2008 and validated against ozonesonde measurements to verify the presence of observations and model biases. Furthermore, a longer analysis of 6 months (July–December 2008) showed that the combined assimilation of MLS and IASI is able to globally reduce the uncertainty (root mean square error, RMSE) of the modeled ozone columns from 30 to 15% in the upper troposphere/lower stratosphere (UTLS, 70–225 hPa). The assimilation of IASI tropospheric ozone observations (1000–225 hPa columns, TOC – tropospheric O3 column) decreases the RMSE of the model from 40 to 20% in the tropics (30° S–30° N), whereas it is not effective at higher latitudes. Results are confirmed by a comparison with additional ozone data sets like the Measurements of OZone and wAter vapour by aIrbus in-service airCraft (MOZAIC) data, the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) total ozone columns and several high-altitude surface measurements. Finally, the analysis is found to be insensitive to the assimilation parameters. We conclude that the combination of a simplified ozone chemistry scheme with frequent satellite observations is a valuable tool for the long-term analysis of stratospheric and free-tropospheric ozone.