n is proportional to the ratio of two wavelengths of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. The complete description of the instrument and measurement technique can be found elsewhere [31] .

Daily total column ozone from the ERA-Interim global atmospheric reanalysis from 1981 to 2014 [http://www.ecmwf.int/en/research/climate-reanalysis/era-interim] and Microtops II Ozonometer measurements for the year 2015 were used to calculate the trend, seasonal and diurnal variation at Cochin (9.95˚N 76.27˚E). In order to calculate seasonal anomaly, TCO for pre monsoon, monsoon and post monsoon period has been averaged separately for 34 years (1981-2014). An hourly measurement of TCO during the equinoxes days in March and September, 2015 (Vernal and Autumnal equinox days) were used to study the diurnal variation. Since the Microtops II Ozonometer is a sun targeted instrument, the measurements were done from 08.30 to 16.30 hours. Cochin is a tropical coastal station under the threat of sea level rise, global warming and climate change. Moreover this region is convectively very active, most of the time the location is cloudy in the afternoon hours, which does not permit the observations using Microtops II Ozonometer. Pertaining to limited observational sites in the west-coast of southern India, the present study of total column ozone at Cochin is vital in generating useful information on a regional basis for the development of an overall database.

3. Results and Discussions

Present study discusses the temporal variability of ozone over the tropical coastal station Cochin, using in situ measurements. Even though such works have already been reported from northern parts of India, this is the first report of this kind from southern part of India. As mentioned earlier, the study location is meteorologically very important with its proximity to the equator and different weather conditions during different seasons. Cochin is also considered as the gate way of Indian summer monsoon (June-September). Recently there observed considerable variations in the extreme conditions of rainfall and the date of onset from the long term average. This clearly indicates the regional climate change. Moreover for the last few years many sunburn cases were reported from different pockets of Cochin, indicating the increase in UVB radiation reaching the surface of the earth during March-April month. This happened because of the low ozone concentration over this location. Hence the present study contributes more to the proper understanding of the atmospheric ozone variability and associated climate change.

3.1. Climatology and Trend of TCO

Figure 1 shows the climatological value of total column ozone over Cochin for the period 1981-2014. Total column ozone varies with seasons in this particular location with high concentration during the monsoon period (June-September). The annual average of TCO at Cochin is 261 DU with a variation of 36 DU between the maximum and minimum. During monsoon season TCO vary with an increase of approximately 14 DU from the pre monsoon value and a decrease of 22 DU from the post monsoon value. The lowest value of 241.77 DU is observed in the months of December-January and the highest values are observed in the monsoon period (June, July and August) with an approximate value of 277 DU. The climatology of TCO for pre-monsoon (262.22 DU), monsoon (275.75 DU) and post monsoon (253.39 DU) were also calculated.

Figure 1. Climatology of TCO (in Dobson unit) over Cochin (1981-2014).

Figure 2 shows the trend of TCO over the tropical station Cochin for the period 1981-2014. It is very evident that there is a positive trend in TCO with a standard deviation of 5.07 DU and for higher latitude it is quite high. During the period of study TCO values fluctuates between 271.44 DU (1999) and 251.3 DU (2005) with a difference of 20 DU. For tropics ozone variability is low compared to poles and ozone trend is maximum over the pole compared to tropical latitudes. During every spring there occurs drastic reduction in ozone over the poles and next year it recovers. This phenomenon as we call ozone hole, occur due to the catalytic destruction of ozone over the poles because of the peculiar weather conditions prevailed during the winter stratosphere. The trends in ground level ozone in the urban and rural areas of industrialized regions are strongly linked to the changes in anthropogenic emissions of ozone precursors [32] . Hence to calculate the trend of TCO variability we have to consider the ozone destruction and production due to anthropogenic emissions. So an integrated approach is required to calculate the trend of column ozone which is beyond the scope of this study.

3.2. Seasonal Variation of TCO with Solar Cycle

Figure 3 shows the total ozone anomaly for pre monsoon (March-May), monsoon (June-September) and post monsoon (October-December) period along with sunspot number (sunspot activity). We computed the seasonal anomaly of TCO by subtracting the climatology (34 years) from the seasonal average of the individual years for the period. The global satellite ozone records since 1979 show evidence for decadal oscillations of total ozone with maximum amplitude (~2%) at low latitudes [14] . Many researchers have studied the seasonal cycles [15] , trends [16] and inter-annual variability of tropical ozone [15] . Most of the year’s TCO varies in a similar fashion for all the three seasons but few exceptions are noted. Calculation of standard deviation of TCO variability for all months separately and found that during monsoon season standard deviation is little higher than pre and post monsoon season. A decadal type of variability is observed and the anomaly values of ozone are well correlated with sunspot maxima and minima during the period. It shows that ozone concentration and its variability are linked with the solar maximum and minimum. The concentration of ozone is high during the maximum sunspot years and low during the minimum sunspot years of the solar cycle.

3.3. Validation of ECMWF TCO with Microtop II Ozonometer Measurements

Figure 4 shows the comparison of real time TCO measurements using Microtop II Ozonometer for the year 2015 with the ECMWF reanalysis climatology. The ECMWF reanalysis follow the similar trend of variability in TCO with Microtops measurements, but higher values are observed for the in situ measurements. In January and February, when the sun is in the southern hemisphere the TCO measured in situ is found to be less compared to other months. The effective solar radiation reaching the northern hemisphere is less during the southern summer,

Figure 2. TCO (in DU) trend over Cochin during the period 1981 to 2014.

Figure 3. Total column ozone anomaly (in DU) for the monsoon, pre and post monsoon seasons over Cochin for the period 1981-2014.

Figure 4. Comparison of TCO (in DU units) measured over Cochin using Microtop II Ozonometer for the year 2015 with ECMWF reanalysis.

which reduces the ozone production by the oxygen photolysis according to the Chapman reaction. Monthly average of TCO is calculated by considering the available days of in situ measurements for that month (~20 days) and the data gap is filled with linear interpolation technique. Monthly variations of TCO are well represented with ground measurements for the year 2015. During pre and post monsoon seasons a difference of 20 DU and in monsoon period a difference of 10 DU are observed in the total column ozone between Microtops measurements and ECMWF reanalysis. Seasonal variability of TCO from ECMWF reanalysis is verified with Microtops measurements. Even though there are minor variation in TCO between Microtops and ECMWF, the pattern of monthly variations is found to be the same. The ECMWF reanalysis is a simulated (Chemistry Climate Model output) value using data obtained from different measurements such satellite, balloon and ground based observations over the globe. However this data set well represents the tropical ozone variability. Hence the comparison of measured and reanalysis TCOs confirm that ECMWF reanalysis can be used effectively for understanding the temporal variability of tropical ozone and ozone-climate interactions.

3.4. Diurnal Variability of TCO during Vernal and Autumnal Equinoxes

The diurnal variability of TCO over Cochin during two equinoxes days were examined for the year 2015. To study the diurnal variation of TCO, measurements were taken from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm in both the days. The availability of solar radiation is very important for the production of ozone in the upper stratosphere by photolysis of oxygen molecules according to Chapman reaction. Photolysis rate depends on altitude, latitude, season and time of the day. Cochin is a coastal city in the tropical region and at noon hours, the sun is almost overhead enhancing the photochemical production of ozone. The changes in the position of sun with seasons affects the ozone production considerably. Figure 5 & Figure 6 show the TCO variability over Cochin during vernal

Figure 5. Microtop II Ozonometer measurements of TCO (in DU) for vernal equinox on 20/03/2015.

Figure 6. Microtop II Ozonometer measurements of TCO (in DU) for autumnal equinox on (22/09/2015).

equinox (March 20, 2015) and autumnal equinox (September 22, 2015) respectively. The difference in the patterns can be attributed to the difference in the intensity of solar radiation and hence the ozone production. It is noted that the vernal equinox diurnal pattern and the climatological pattern (Figure 1) of TCO variability are the same. During vernal equinox the diurnal range is about 20 DU (7% variation) and that during autumnal equinox is 16 DU (5.4% variation). Since the diurnal equinox patterns are measured only for the year 2015, a conclusion regarding the behavior of the pattern could not be explained, which is a limitation of the present study.

4. Conclusion

The temporal variability of total atmospheric column ozone over Cochin is well explored in this study. Total ozone concentration is maximum during the monsoon period and it can be attributed to the enhancement of photo chemical ozone production due to the availability of solar radiation over this region (Northern Summer). The ozone variability calculated using ECMWF reanalysis is in good agreement with Microtop II Ozonometer observations. For the 34-year climatology the annual average of TCO is 261 DU with an annual range of 36 DU between maximum and minimum. During monsoon season TCO varies with an increase of approximately 14 DU from the pre monsoon value and a decrease of 22 DU from the post monsoon value. Total column ozone shows the decadal variability in tune with the solar maximum (TCO maximum years) and minimum (TCO minimum years) cycles. The validation of ECMWF TCO with Microtop II Ozonometer measurements shows a good agreement in representing tropical ozone variability. Hence the ECMWF reanalysis TCO can be used for climate studies to understand the tropical ozone variability and associated changes in climate due to ozone forcing. The diurnal pattern of TCO variability over Cochin is different for the two equinoxes days and vernal equinox pattern is similar to that of climatology pattern. The difference in diurnal pattern of both equinoxes could not be explained due to the lack of measurements and it is a limitation of the present study on diurnal variability. Cochin is a coastal urban city in the west coast of southern India vulnerable to sea level rise and hazards of climate change. Hence this sort of study will enrich our knowledge about regional climate change and extreme weather events in the context of climate change due to atmospheric ozone forcing.


Authors are greatly thankful to the Science and Engineering Research Board, Department of Science and Technology (SERB-DST), Government of India for the financial support through the funded project implemented at the Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Cochin University of Science and Technology, Cochin and European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts for providing the daily values of total column ozone in their data portal for the public. The authors highly acknowledge two anonymous reviewers for their valuable suggestions. Author is thankful to Ms. Saritha A.C for the valuable suggestions and comments to improve the manuscript.

Cite this paper

Vazhathottathil Madhu,Karthika Gangadharan, (2016) Temporal Distribution of Total Column Ozone over Cochin—A Study Based on in Situ Measurements and ECMWF Reanalysis. Open Journal of Marine Science,06,200-209. doi: 10.4236/ojms.2016.62016


  1. 1. Lacis, A.A., Wuebbles, D.J. and Logan, J.A. (1990) Radiative Forcing of Climate by Changes in the Vertical Distribution of Ozone. Journal of Geophysical Research, 95, 9971-9981.

  2. 2. Forster, P. and Shine, K. (1997) Radiative Forcing and Temperature Trends from Stratospheric Ozone Changes. Journal of Geophysical Research, 102, 10841-10855. http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/96JD03510

  3. 3. Randel, W.J. (1988) The Seasonal Evolution of Planetary Waves in the Southern Hemisphere Stratosphere and Troposphere. Quarterly Journal of The Royal Meteorological Society, 114, 1385-1409. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/qj.49711448403

  4. 4. Holton, J.R., Haynes, P.H., McyInty, M.E., Douglas, A.R., Rood, R.B. and Pfister, L. (1995) Stratosphere Troposphere Exchange. Reviews of Geophysics, 33, 403-439. http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/95RG02097

  5. 5. Madhu, V. (2014) Spatial and Temporal Variability of Total Column Ozone over the Indian Subcontinent: A Study Based on Nimbus-7 TOMS Satellite. Atmospheric and Climate Sciences, 4, 884-898.

  6. 6. Dunkerton, T.J. and Delisi, D.P. (1997) Interaction of the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation and Stratopause Semiannual Oscillation. Journal of Geophysical Research, 102, 26107-26116.

  7. 7. Madhu, V. (2014) Variation of Zonal Winds in the Upper Troposphere and Lower Stratosphere in Association with Deficient and Excess Indian Summer Monsoon Scenario. Atmospheric and Climate Sciences, 4, 685-695. http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/acs.2014.44062

  8. 8. World Meteorological Organisation (1999) Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion, 1998, Rep. 44, Global Ozone Res. and Monit. Proj., Geneva.

  9. 9. Brasseur, G.P., Hauglustaine, D.A., Walters, S., Rasch, P.J., M¨uller, J.-F., Granier, C. and Tie, X.X. (1998) MOZART, A Global Chemical Transport Model for Ozone and Related Chemical Tracers: 1. Model Description. Journal of Geophysical Research, 103, 28265-28289. http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/98JD02397

  10. 10. Willett, H.C. (1962) The Relationship of Total Atmospheric Ozone to the Sunspot Cycle. Journal of Geophysical Research, 67, 661-670. http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/JZ067i002p00661

  11. 11. Shindell, D., Rind, D., Balachandran, N., Lean, J. and Lonergan, P. (1999) Solar Cycle Variability, Ozone, and Climate. Science, 284, 305-308. http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.284.5412.305

  12. 12. Bowman, K.P. (1989) Global Patterns of the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation in Total Ozone. Journal of Atmospheric Science, 46, 3328-3343.

  13. 13. Shiotini, M. (1992) Annual Quasi-Biennial and El-Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Time Scale Variation in Equatorial Total Ozone. Journal of Geophysical Research, 97, 7625-7633.

  14. 14. Hood, L. (1997) The Solar Cycle Variation of Total Ozone: Dynamical Forcing on the Lower Stratosphere. Journal of Geophysical Research, 102, 1355-1370. http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/96JD00210

  15. 15. Ziemke, J.R. and Chandra, S. (1999) Seasonal and Inter-Annual Variabilities in Tropical Tropospheric Ozone. Journal of Geophysical Research, 104, 21425-21442. http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/1999JD900277

  16. 16. Thompson, A.M. and Hudson, R.D. (2000) Tropical Tropospheric Ozone (TTO) Maps from Nimbus7 and Earth Probe TOMS by the Modified Residual Method: Evaluation with Sondes, ENSO Signal and Trends from Atlantic Regional Time Series. Journal of Geophysical Research, 105, 26961-26975.

  17. 17. Chatfield, R.B., Guan, H., Thompson, A.M. and Smit, H.G.J. (2007) Mechanisms for the Intraseasonal Variability of Tropospheric Ozone over the Indian Ocean during the Winter Monsoon. Journal of Geophysical Research, 112, D10303. http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2006jd007347

  18. 18. Hasebe, F. (1994) Quasi Biennial Oscillation of Ozone Diabatic Circulation in the Equatorial Stratosphere. Journal of Atmospheric Science, 51, 729-745.

  19. 19. Akinyemi, M.L. (2007) The Influence of Some Atmospheric Phenomena on Total Ozone Concentration over the Tropics. Australian Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences, 1, 497-505.

  20. 20. Lal, S. and Lawrence, M.G. (2001) Elevated Mixing Ratios of Surface Ozone over the Arabian Sea. Geophysical Research Letters, 28, 1487-1490. http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2000GL011828

  21. 21. Mahapatra, P.S., Jena, J., Moharana, S., Srichandan, H., Das, T., Chaudhury, G.R. and Das, S.N. (2012) Surface Ozone Variation at Bhubaneswar and Intra-Corelationship Study with Various Parameters. Journal of Earth System Science, 121, 1163-1175. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12040-012-0216-4

  22. 22. Kalita, G., Bhuyan, P.K. and Bhuyan, K. (2010) Variation of Total Columnar Ozone Characteristics over Dibrugarh, India and Comparison with Satellite Observations over the Indian Subcontinent. Indian Journal of Physics, 84, 635-639. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12648-010-0063-6

  23. 23. Kundu, N. and Jain, M. (1993) Total Ozone Trends over Low Latitude Indian Stations. Geophysical Research Letters, 20, 2881-2883. http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/93GL03306

  24. 24. Chakrabarty, D.K., Peshin, S.K., Pandya, K.V. and Shah, N.C. (1998) Long-Term Trend of Ozone Column over the Indian Region. Journal of Geophysical Research, 103, 19245-19251.

  25. 25. Tiwari, V.S. (1992) Ozone Variations over Tropics: Trends Reveled from Dobson Measurements over Indian Stations. Mausam, 43, 65-70.

  26. 26. Mani, A. and Sreedharan, C.R. (1973) Studies of Variations in the Vertical Ozone Profiles over India. Pure and Applied Geophysics, 108, 1180-1191. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF00881070

  27. 27. Austin, J., Scinocca, J., Plummer, D., Oman, L., Waugh, D., Akiyoshi, H., et al. (2010) Decline and Recovery of Total Column Ozone Using a Multimodel Time Series Analysis. Journal of Geophysical Research, 115, D00M10. http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2010jd013857

  28. 28. Oman, L.D., Waugh, D.W., Kawa, S.R., Stolarski, R.S., Douglass, A.R. and Newman, P.A. (2010) Mechanisms and Feedback Causing Changes in Upper Stratospheric Ozone in the 21st Century. Journal of Geophysical Research, 115, D05303. http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2009jd012397

  29. 29. Garny, H., Dameris, M., Randel, W., Bodeker, G.E. and Deckert, R. (2011) Dynamically Forced Increase of Tropical Upwelling in the Lower Stratosphere. Journal of Atmospheric Science, 68, 1214-1233. http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/2011JAS3701.1

  30. 30. Meul, S., Langematz, U., Oberl?nder, S., Garny, H. and J?ckel, P. (2014) Chemical Contribution to Future Tropical Ozone Change in the Lower Stratosphere. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 14, 2959-2971. http://dx.doi.org/10.5194/acp-14-2959-2014

  31. 31. Solar Light Co., Inc. (2001) Microtops II: Ozone Monitor & Sunphotometer Version 2.43. USA Document No. MTP 05.

  32. 32. Forster, P. and Shine, K. (1997) Radiative Forcing and Temperature Trends from Stratospheric Ozone Changes. Journal of Geophysical Research, 102, 10841-10855. http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/96JD03510

Journal Menu>>