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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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doi:10.5194/amt-2016-366
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
01 Feb 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).
Intra-pixel variability in satellite tropospheric NO2 column densities derived from simultaneous spaceborne and airborne observations
Stephen Broccardo1,a, Klaus-Peter Heue2, David Walter3, Christian Meyer4, Alexander Kokhanovsky5,6, Ronald v. d. A7, Stuart Piketh8, Kristy Langerman9, and Ulrich Platt10 1School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Science, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2030, South Africa
2DLR Earth Observation Center, Oberpfaffenhofen, 82234 Wessling, Germany
3Max Planck Institut für Chemie, Hahn-Meitner-Weg 1, 55128 Mainz, Germany
4IDT Europe GmbH, Grentzstr. 28, 01109 Dresden, Germany
5EUMETSAT, Eumetsat Allee 1, 64295, Darmstadt, Germany
6Moscow Engineering Physics Institute, National Research Nuclear University, Kashirskoe Ave. 31, 115409, Moscow, Russia
7R&D Satellite Observations, KNMI, Utrechtseweg 297, 3731GA, De Bilt, the Netherlands
8Climatology Research Group, Unit for Environmental Science and Management, North-West University, Potchefstroom, 2531, South Africa
9Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd, Megawatt Park, Maxwell Drive, Sandton, 2157, South Africa
10Institut für Umweltphysik, Im Neuenheimer Feld 229, 69120, Heidelberg, Germany
anow at: Climatology Research Group, Unit for Environmental Science and Management, North-West University, Potchefstroom, 2531, South Africa
Abstract. Aircraft measurements of NO2 using an imaging differential optical absorption spectrometer (iDOAS) instrument over the South African Highveld region in August 2007 are presented and compared to satellite measurements from OMI and SCIAMACHY. In-situ aerosol and trace-gas vertical profile measurements, along with aerosol optical thickness and single-scattering albedo measurements from the Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET), are used to devise scenarios for a radiative-transfer modelling sensitivity study. Uncertainty in the air-mass factor due to variations in the aerosol and NO2 profile shape is constrained, and used to calculate vertical column densities (VCD), which are compared to co-located satellite measurements. The lower spatial resolution of the satellites cannot resolve the detailed plume structures revealed in the aircraft measurements. The airborne DOAS in general measured steeper horizontal gradients and higher peak NO2 vertical column density. Aircraft measurements close to major sources, spatially-averaged to the satellite resolution, indicate NO2 column densities more than twice those measured by the satellite. The agreement between the high-resolution aircraft instrument and the satellite instrument improves with distance from the source. Despite their low spatial resolution, satellite images reveal point sources and plumes that retain their structure for several hundred kilometers downwind.

Citation: Broccardo, S., Heue, K.-P., Walter, D., Meyer, C., Kokhanovsky, A., v. d. A, R., Piketh, S., Langerman, K., and Platt, U.: Intra-pixel variability in satellite tropospheric NO2 column densities derived from simultaneous spaceborne and airborne observations, Atmos. Meas. Tech. Discuss., doi:10.5194/amt-2016-366, in review, 2017.
Stephen Broccardo et al.
Stephen Broccardo et al.
Stephen Broccardo et al.

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Short summary
Measurements of nitrogen dioxide, known to originate from industrial and automotive combustion sources, have been made from space for two decades. Successive generations of instrument bring improvements in ground-pixel resolution, however features in the atmosphere are known to be smaller than what the satellites can resolve. Measurements of urban and industrial areas using a high-resolution aircraft remote-sensing instrument allow the impact of the satellite's poor resolution to be evaluated.
Measurements of nitrogen dioxide, known to originate from industrial and automotive combustion...
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