Ozone profiles from the Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) onboard the Aura satellite of the NASA's Earth Observing System (EOS) were experimentally added to the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) four-dimensional variational (4D-var) data assimilation system of version CY30R1, in which total ozone columns from Scanning Imaging Absorption Spectrometer for Atmospheric CHartographY (SCIAMACHY) onboard the Envisat satellite and partial profiles from the Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet (SBUV/2) instrument onboard the NOAA-16 satellite have been operationally assimilated. As shown by results for the autumn of 2005, additional constraints from MLS data significantly improved the agreement of the analyzed ozone fields with independent observations throughout most of the stratosphere, owing to the daily near-global coverage and good vertical resolution of MLS observations. The largest impacts were seen in the middle and lower stratosphere, where model deficiencies could not be effectively corrected by the operational observations without the additional information on the ozone vertical distribution provided by MLS. Even in the upper stratosphere, where ozone concentrations are mainly determined by rapid chemical processes, dense and vertically resolved MLS data helped reduce the biases related to model deficiencies. These improvements resulted in a more realistic and consistent description of spatial and temporal variations in stratospheric ozone, as demonstrated by cases in the dynamically and chemically active regions. However, combined assimilation of the often discrepant ozone observations might lead to underestimation of tropospheric ozone. In addition, model deficiencies induced large biases in the upper stratosphere in the medium-range (5-day) ozone forecasts
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