Trace Gas and Aerosol Climatologies – SPARC Data Initiative

The SPARC initiative on Trace Gas Climatologies (or: SPARC Data Initiative) aims to compare vertically-resolved chemical trace gas climatologies derived from satellite measurements (extending from the upper troposphere to the lower mesosphere, but with a primary focus on the stratosphere).

Accurate knowledge of trace gas climatologies (including their variability) is crucial not only for their intrinsic value but also for validation of numerical model simulations; the SPARC CCMVal activity noted that for some species satellite products appear to contradict each other, and recommended an assessment of the various data products available to support future model evaluations. The SPARC Data Initiative aims to tackle this task and is analysing a variety of long- and short-lived trace gas species (O3, H2O, CH4, N2O, HNO3, NOx, HCl, ClO, OClO, HOCl, HF, BrO, SF6, CO, aerosols, and others). While the analysis of ozone, aerosol, and water vapour climatologies will support other ongoing SPARC activities focused on characterising long-term changes, this work will also provide valuable information on data quality to data merging activities currently being carried out by NASA and ESA. The outcome of the SPARC Data Initiative will be published in a peer-reviewed SPARC Report, which will constitute the first SPARC assessment of long- and short-lived trace gas species (apart from aerosol, ozone, and water vapour).

The Data Initiative has also been facilitated through an ISSI International Team activity, with the team consisting of both  data analysts and experts from most of the major satellite instrument groups.

Activity leaders

Michaela I. Hegglin, Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, UK, ku.c1521934115a.gni1521934115daer@1521934115nilgg1521934115eh.i.1521934115m1521934115Susann Tegtmeier, Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (GEOMAR), Germany, ed.ra1521934115moeg@1521934115reiem1521934115tgets1521934115

Team members

  • John Anderson, Hampton University, USA
  • Adam Bourassa, University of Saskatchewan, Canada
  • Samuel Brohede, Chalmers University, Sweden
  • Doug Degenstein, University of Saskatchewan, Canaca
  • Lucien Froidevaux, Jet Propulsion, Laboratory, USA
  • Bernd Funke, Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía, Spain
  • John Gille, University of Colorado and NCAR, USA
  • Michaela I. Hegglin, University of Reading, UK
  • Ashley Jones, University of Toronto, Canada
  • Yasuko Kasai, National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, Japan
  • Erkki Kyrölä, Finnish Meteorological Institute, Finland
  • Jerry Lumpe, Computational Physics, Inc. United States
  • Jessica Neu, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, USA
  • Ellis Remsberg, NASA Langley Research Center, USA
  • Alexei Rozanov, University of Bremen, Germany
  • Susann Tegtmeier, IFM-GEOMAR, Germany
  • Matthew Toohey, IFM-GEOMAR, Germany
  • Thomas von Clarmann, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany
  • Kaley A. Walker, University of Toronto, Canada
  • Ray Wang, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA

Published results

Journal publications:

Hegglin, M.I., S. Tegtmeier, J. Anderson, L. Froidevaux, R. Fuller, B. Funke, A. Jones, G. Lingenfelser, J. Lumpe, D. Pendlebury, E. Remsberg, A. Rozanov, M. Toohey, J. Urban, T. von Clarmann, K. A. Walker, R. Wang and K. Weigel, 2013: parcPARC Data Initiative: Comparison of water vapor climatologies from international satellite limb soundersJ. Geopyhs. Res., doi: 10.1002/jgrd.50752.

Hegglin, M.I., D. A. Plummer, T. G. Shepherd, J. F. Scinocca, J. Anderson, L. Froidevaux, B. Funke, D. Hurst, A. Rozanov, J. Urban, T. von Clarmann, K. A. Walker, H. J. Wang, S. Tegtmeier, and K. Weigel, 2014: Vertical structure of stratospheric water vapour trends derived from merged satellite dataNature Geoscience7 (10), pp. 768-776. ISSN 1752-0894 doi: 10.1038/ngeo2236

Kreyling, D., H. Sagawa, I. Wohltmann, R. Lehmann, and Y. Kasai, 2013: SMILES zonal and diurnal variation climatology of stratospheric and mesospheric trace gasses: O3, HCl, HNO3, ClO, BrO, HOCl, HO2, and temperatureJ. Geophys. Res. Atmos.118(11), 888–11,903, doi:10.1002/2012JD019420.

Neu, J. L., M. I. Hegglin, S. Tegtmeier, A. Bourassa, D. Degenstein, L. Froidevaux, R. Fuller , B. Funke, J. Gille, A. Jones, A. Rozanov, M. Toohey, T. von Clarmann, K. A. Walker, and J. R. Worden, 2014: The SPARC Data Initiative: Comparison of upper troposphere/lower stratosphere ozone climatologies from limb-viewing instruments and the nadir-viewing Tropospheric Emission SpectrometerJ. Geophys. Res. Atmos.119 (11), pp. 6971-6990. ISSN 0148-0227 doi: 10.1002/2013JD020822

Shepherd, T. G., D. A. Plummer, J. F. Scinocca, M. I. Hegglin, V. E. Fioletov, M. C. Reader, E. Remsberg, T. von Clarmann, and H. J. Wang, 2014: Reconciliation of halogen-induced ozone loss with the total-column ozone recordNature Geosci.7 (6)., pp. 443-449. ISSN 1752-0908 doi: 10.1038/NGEO2155

Tegtmeier, S., M. I. Hegglin, J. Anderson, B. Funke, J. Gille, A. Jones, L. Smith, T. von Clarmann, and K. A. Walker, 2016: The SPARC Data Initiative: comparisons of CFC-11, CFC-12, HF and SF6 climatologies from international satellite limb soundersEarth Syst. Sci. Data8, 61-78, doi:10.5194/essd-8-61-2016.

Tegtmeier, S., M. I. Hegglin, J. Anderson, A. Bourassa, S. Brohede, D. Degenstein, L. Froidevaux, R. Fuller, B. Funke, J. Gille, A. Jones, Y. Kasai, K. Krüger, E. Kyrölä, G. Lingenfelser, J. Lumpe, B. Nardi, J. Neu, D. Pendlebury, E. Remsberg, A. Rozanov, L. Smith, M. Toohey, J. Urban, T. von Clarmann, K.A. Walker and H.J. Wang, 2013: The SPARC Data Initiative: A comparison of ozone climatologies from international satellite limb sounderJ. Geopyhs. Res., doi: 10.1002/2013JD019877.

Toohey, M., M. I. Hegglin, S. Tegtmeier, J. Anderson, J. A. Anel, A. Bourassa, S. Brohede, D. Degenstein, L. Froidevaux, R. Fuller, B. Funke, J. Gille, A. Jones, Y. Kasai, K. Krueger, E. Kyrölä, J. L. Neu, A. Rozanov, L. Smith, J. Urban, T. von Clarmann, K. A. Walker, and R. H. J. Wang, 2013: Characterizing sampling bias in the trace gas climatologies of the SPARC Data InitiativeJ. Geophys. Res. Atmos.118 (20), 11847-11862. ISSN 2169-8996 doi: 10.1002/jgrd.50874

SPARC Science Report:

SPARC, 2017: The SPARC Data Initiative: Assessment of stratospheric trace gas and aerosol climatologies from satellite limb sounders. By M. I. Hegglin and S. Tegtmeier (eds.), SPARC Report No. 8, WCRP-5/2017, available at

SPARC activity updates:

SPARC Newsletter No. 36 (2011), p.22: The SPARC Data Initiative, by M. I. Hegglin and S. Tegtmeier.

Website for further information (note: this website is no longer updated).