1Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA
2School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA
3Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA, USA
4Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, NY, USA
5Atmospheric and Ocean Sciences, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, USA
*now at: Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA, USA
Abstract. High-ozone events, approaching or exceeding the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS), are frequently observed in the US Intermountain West in association with subsiding background influence. Monitoring and attribution of these events is problematic because of the sparsity of the surface network and lack of vertical information. We present an Observing System Simulation Experiment (OSSE) to evaluate the ability of the future geostationary satellite instrument Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution (TEMPO), scheduled for launch in 2018–2019, to monitor and attribute high-ozone events in the Intermountain West through data assimilation. TEMPO will observe ozone in the ultraviolet (UV) and visible (Vis) for sensitivity in the lower troposphere. Our OSSE uses ozone data from the GFDL AM3 chemistry-climate model (CCM) as the "true" atmosphere and samples it for April–June 2010 with the current surface network (CASTNet sites), TEMPO, and a low Earth orbit (LEO) IR satellite instrument. The synthetic data are then assimilated into the GEOS-Chem chemical transport model (CTM) using a Kalman filter. Error correlation length scales (500 km in horizontal, 1.7 km in vertical) extend the range of influence of observations. We show that assimilation of surface data alone does not adequately detect high-ozone events in the Intermountain West. Assimilation of TEMPO data greatly improves the monitoring capability, with little information added from the LEO instrument. The vertical information from TEMPO further enables the attribution of NAAQS exceedances to background ozone and this is illustrated with the case of a stratospheric intrusion.