1CERFACS, Toulouse, France
2Météo France, Toulouse, France
3Laboratoire d'Aérologie, 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. In this study we examine the impact of assimilating ozone observations from the Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) and the Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI) in a global chemical transport model (MOdèle de Chimie Atmosphérique à Grande Échelle, MOCAGE). The assimilation of the two instruments is performed by means of a variational algorithm (4-D-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 ozone-sondes measurements to verify the presence of observations and model biases. It is found that the IASI Tropospheric Ozone Column (TOC, 1000–225 hPa) should be bias-corrected prior to assimilation and MLS lowermost level (215 hPa) excluded from the analysis. Furthermore, a longer analysis of 6 months (July–August 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) and from 25% to 20% in the free troposphere. The positive effect of assimilating IASI tropospheric observations is very significant at low latitudes (30° S–30° N), whereas it is not demonstrated at higher latitudes. Results are confirmed by a comparison with additional ozone datasets 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 little sensitive to the assimilation parameters and the model chemical scheme, due to the high frequency of satellite observations compared to the average life-time of free-troposphere/low-stratosphere ozone.