Change in ozone depletion rates beginning in the mid 1990s: trend analyses of the TOMS/ SBUV merged total ozone data, 1978-2003
Abstract. Statistical analyses have been applied to the gridded monthly means of total ozone from combined TOMS and SBUV measurements (version 8 of the data) for the period 1978-2003. We focus on the detection of a change in the trend pattern by searching for a turnaround in the previous downward trend. The ozone time series have been examined separately for each grid point and season, taking into account the various descriptions of the trend term: double-linear, proportional to the index of the overall chlorine content in the stratosphere, and a smooth curve without an a priori defined shape (the output of the regression model). Standard explanatory variables representing physical and chemical processes known to influence the ozone distribution have been considered: Mg II index, QBO wind at 10 and 30 hPa, zonal wind anomalies at 50 hPa along the 60° north or 60° south circle, the index of the stratospheric aerosols loading in the NH or SH, and the tropopause pressure. The multivariate adaptive regression splines methodology is used to find an optimal set of the explanatory variables and shape of the trend curve. The statistical errors of the models' estimates have been calculated using block bootstrapping of the models' residuals. The results appear to be consistent among models using different formulations of the trend pattern. The 2003 level of total ozone after the removal of the variations due to the parameterized dynamical/chemical forcing on the ozone is still below the long-term (1978-2003) mean level over the extratropical regions. The deficit is ~2-5% in the NH and much larger in the SH and exhibits clear seasonal variability, ~15% in autumn, ~10% in winter, and ~-5% in spring and summer. The present total ozone level is higher beyond the tropics than that in the mid 1990s but it is too early to announce a beginning of the ozone recovery there because of the trend uncertainties, due to errors of the regression estimates for individual grid points and longitudinal variability of the trend pattern. A rigorous statistical test has shown the statistically significant turnaround for some grid points over the extratropical region and a deepening of the ozone negative trend has not been found for any grid point.