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Total column ozone

A new version of the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research - Bodeker Scientific (NIWA-BS) total column ozone database is available.

Version 3.0 of the NIWA-BS total column ozone (TCO) database has been constructed in a project funded by the New Zealand Deep South National Science Challenge. The database is constructed by combining measurements from a number of different satellite-based instruments. Offsets and drifts between the different data sets are resolved through comparisons with the Dobson and Brewer ground-based instruments and through inter-satellite instrument comparisons. This update to previous versions of the database includes:

  • New and updated sources of satellite-based TCO measurements are used viz. data from NPP-OMPS (National Polar-orbiting Partnership-Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite), GOME-2 (Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment-2) and SCIAMACHY (Scanning Imaging Absorption Spectrometer for Atmospheric CHartographY) are now included in the combined data set.
  • Improved statistical methods are used to model the difference fields between data sets; zonal means of the difference fields are modelled using Legendre expansions which comprise the meridional component of a spherical harmonic expansion which is best suited for statistically describing a field on a sphere. A Bayesian information criterion is used to determine the number of terms used in the Legendre expansions.
  • Measurement uncertainties on the source data sets, and the corrections applied to those data sets, have been collated and are propagated through to the combined ozone data set so that, for the first time, this data set is now provided with uncertainty estimates for each datum.
This new version of the database is available hereThe data are supplied as unpatched (no spatial or temporal interpolation) CF-Compliant NetCDF files. To access the data, you will need a username and password. These can be obtained by emailing If you would like to be informed of updates to this database, please email me at and I will add you to my list. 

At this time only daily 'unpatched' data are available. We are working on generating monthly mean and patched data files as had been available in previous versions of the database. This is now a little more challenging as we intend to capitalize on the uncertainty estimates being available to calculate monthly means and patched data that incorporate realistic uncertainties. If you need the monthly mean or patched data, please continue to use version 2.8 of the database for now (see below).

A paper is in the process of being written to describe this new database. Descriptions of previous versions of the data set are available in a number of publications that have made use of the data:

  • Struthers, H., G. E. Bodeker, J. Austin, S. Bekki, I. Cionni, M. Dameris, M. A. Giorgetta, V. Grewe, F. Lefèvre, F. Lott, E. Manzini, T. Peter, E. Rozanov, and M. Schraner (2009), The simulation of the Antarctic ozone hole by chemistry-climate models, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 9, 6363–6376.  [acp-9-6363-2009.pdf].
  • Müller, R., J.-U. Grooß, C. Lemmen, D. Heinze, M. Dameris, and G. E. Bodeker (2008), Simple measures of ozone depletion in the polar stratosphere, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 8, 251-264. [acp-8-251-2008.pdf]
  • Bodeker, G. E., H. Shiona, and H. Eskes (2005), Indicators of Antarctic ozone depletion, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 5, 2603-2615.  [acp-5-2603.pdf]
If you are going to be using this database in a publication, please let me know ( At the very least please include the following acknowledgement: We would like to thank Greg Bodeker of Bodeker Scientific, funded by the New Zealand Deep South National Science Challenge, for providing the combined total column ozone database.


Version 3.0 (November 2015): Described above

Version 2.8:

Version 2.8 of the total column ozone database is available here

  • corrections applied to the OMI data for their offset and drift against the ground-based Brewer and Dobson network have been recalculated based on the longer overlap period now available.
On the FTP server  for version 2.8 of this database you will see three different directories, viz.:

Daily: These are the data at daily resolution. There are, in turn, three subdirectories, viz.:

LongPatched: In these files, longitudinal interpolation has been performed to fill data gaps. However, no interpolation is performed over more than 60o in longitude and 5o in latitude. In addition, temporal interpolation was performed when missing data were bracketed by available data at the same location on the preceding and following days.

Patched: In these files spatial linear interpolation has been performed to fill data gaps. However, no interpolation is performed over more than 60o in longitude and 10o in latitude. However, these criteria are relaxed poleward of 60o to permit interpolation over the polar caps. This interpolation method is described and validated in: Bodeker, G. E., B. J. Connor, J. B. Liley, and W. A. Matthews (2001), The global mass of ozone: 1978-1998, Geophys. Res. Lett., 28(14), 2819-2822. No temporal interpolation is performed.

Unpatched: In these files no spatial or temporal interpolation is performed.

All three of these data sets are available as NetCDF files. I have tried to make them CF compliant so that they can be used directly e.g. in the SPARC CCMVal activity.

Locations: These are daily data extracted from the daily resolution grid files using bilinear interpolation. Each file is a text file and contains a header describing the file contents. The values in the last column describe the extent of the interpolation required to derive a valid value. If a valid value was available from the 'Unpatched' daily grid files, this value will be 0. If it was necessary to go to the 'LongPatched' daily grid files, this value will be 1. If it was necessary to go to the 'Patched' daily grid files this value will be 2. If no value could be derived, this value will be -1000. If a location that you want data for is not currently available, please email me at with the name, latitude and longitude of the station you want data for, and I will see what I can do.

Monthly: These are data at monthly resolution. There have to be at least 25 valid values within a month to calculate a valid monthly mean. As with the daily data, there are three subdirectories containing data in which different degrees of spatial and/or temporal interpolation has been applied. Read the explanatory notes in the daily data section to see what these are. They are available both as NetCDF and as text files.

Text files: These are files in a raw text format. Within each annual file there is a block of data for each month. The first line in each monthly data block gives the month number of the year. Note that there may be missing months of data. The next 180 lines give the data. The first line is for the cells between 89oN and 90oN and the last line is for the cells between 89oS and 90oS. Each line of data holds 288 numbers. Each value is always three digits with -99 meaning no data available. There are no spaces between values to save on file size. The first value on each line is for the cell between 180oW and 178.75oW (each cell is 1.25 degrees in width). The last value on each line is for the cell between 178.75oE and 180oE.