Tropospheric ozonesonde profiles at long-term U.S. monitoring sites: 1. A climatology based on self-organizing maps

Ryan M. Stauffer, Anne M. Thompson, George S. Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Sonde-based climatologies of tropospheric ozone (O3) are vital for developing satellite retrieval algorithms and evaluating chemical transport model output. Typical O3 climatologies average measurements by latitude or region, and season. A recent analysis using self-organizing maps (SOM) to cluster ozonesondes from two tropical sites found that clusters of O3 mixing ratio profiles are an excellent way to capture O3 variability and link meteorological influences to O3 profiles. Clusters correspond to distinct meteorological conditions, e.g., convection, subsidence, cloud cover, and transported pollution. Here the SOM technique is extended to four long-term U.S. sites (Boulder, CO; Huntsville, AL; Trinidad Head, CA; and Wallops Island, VA) with 4530 total profiles. Sensitivity tests on k-means algorithm and SOM justify use of 3 × 3 SOM (nine clusters). At each site, SOM clusters together O3 profiles with similar tropopause height, 500 hPa height/temperature, and amount of tropospheric and total column O3. Cluster means are compared to monthly O3 climatologies. For all four sites, near-tropopause O3 is double (over +100 parts per billion by volume; ppbv) the monthly climatological O3 mixing ratio in three clusters that contain 13–16% of profiles, mostly in winter and spring. Large midtropospheric deviations from monthly means (-6 ppbv, +7–10 ppbv O3 at 6 km) are found in two of the most populated clusters (combined 36–39% of profiles). These two clusters contain distinctly polluted (summer) and clean O3 (fall-winter, high tropopause) profiles, respectively. As for tropical profiles previously analyzed with SOM, O3 averages are often poor representations of U.S. O3 profile statistics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1320-1339
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 16 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology


Dive into the research topics of 'Tropospheric ozonesonde profiles at long-term U.S. monitoring sites: 1. A climatology based on self-organizing maps'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this