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doi:10.5194/amt-2016-387
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
07 Feb 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).
MAX-DOAS measurements of HONO slant column densities during the MAD-CAT Campaign: inter-comparison and sensitivity studies on spectral analysis settings
Yang Wang1,2, Steffen Beirle1, Francois Hendrick3, Andreas Hilboll4,5, Junli Jin6,7, Aleksandra A. Kyuberis8, Johannes Lampel9,1, Ang Li2, Yuhan Luo2, Lorenzo Lodi10, Jianzhong Ma6, Monica Navarro11, Ivan Ortega12, Enno Peters4, Oleg L. Polyansky10,8, Julia Remmers1, Andreas Richter4, Olga Puentedura Rodriguez11, Michel Van Roozendael3, André Seyler4, Jonathan Tennyson10, Rainer Volkamer12, Pinhua Xie2,13, Nikolai F. Zobov8, and Thomas Wagner1 1Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany
2Anhui Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics, Key laboratory of Environmental Optics and Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Hefei, 230031, China
3Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy – BIRA - IASB, Brussels, Belgium
4Institute of Environmental Physics, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany
5Center for Marine Environmental Sciences (MARUM), University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany
6Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, Beijing, China
7CMA Meteorological Observation Centre, Beijing, China
8Institute of Applied Physics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia
9Institute of Environmental Physics, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
10Department of Physics and Astronomy, University College London, Gower St, London WC1E 6BT, UK
11Area de Investigación e Instrumentación Atmosférica, INTA, Torrejón de Ardoz, Spain
12Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA
13CAS Center for Excellence in Urban Atmospheric Environment, Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xiamen, 361021, China
Abstract. In order to promote the development of the passive DOAS technique the Multi Axis DOAS – Comparison campaign for Aerosols and Trace gases (MAD-CAT) was held at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz, Germany from June to October 2013. Here, we systematically compare the differential slant column densities (dSCDs) of nitrous acid (HONO) derived from measurements of seven different instruments. We also compare the tropospheric difference of SCDs (delta SCD) of HONO, namely the difference of the SCDs for the non-zenith observations and the zenith observation of the same elevation sequence. Different research groups analysed the spectra from their own instruments using their individual fit software. All the fit errors of HONO dSCDs from the instruments with cooled large-size detectors are mostly in the range of 0.1 to 0.3 × 1015 molecules cm−2 for an integration time of 1 min. The fit error for the mini MAX-DOAS is around 0.7 × 1015 molecules cm−2. Although the HONO delta SCDs are normally smaller than 6 × 1015 molecules cm−2, consistent time series of HONO delta SCDs are retrieved from the measurements of different instruments. Both fits with a sequential Fraunhofer reference spectrum (FRS) and a daily noon FRS lead to similar consistency. Apart from the mini-MAX-DOAS, the systematic absolute differences of HONO delta SCDs between the instruments are smaller than 0.63 × 1015 molecules cm−2. The correlation coefficients are higher than 0.7 and the slopes of linear regressions deviate from unity by less than 16% for the elevation angle of 1°. The correlations decrease with an increase of elevation angle. All the participants also analysed synthetic spectra using the same baseline DOAS settings to evaluate the systematic errors of HONO results from their respective fit programs. In general the errors are smaller than 0.3 × 1015 molecules cm−2, which is about half of the systematic difference between the real measurements. The differences of HONO delta SCDs between retrieved in the selected three spectral ranges 335–361 nm, 335–373 nm and 335–390 nm are considerable (up to 0.57 × 1015 molecules cm−2) for both real measurements and synthetic spectra. We performed sensitivity studies to quantify the dominant systematic error sources and to find a recommended DOAS setting in the three spectral ranges. The results show that water vapour absorption, temperature and wavelength dependence of O4 absorption, temperature dependence of Ring spectrum, and polynomial and intensity offset correction all together dominate the systematic errors. We recommend a fit range of 335–373 nm for HONO retrievals. In such fit range the total systematic uncertainty from different sources is about 0.87 × 1015 molecules cm−2, much smaller than those in the other two ranges. Meanwhile the systematic bias of the fitted from the simulated real HONO delta SCDs is also smallest in 335–373 nm (about 0.02 × 1015 molecules cm−2). The typical random uncertainty is estimated to be about 0.16 × 1015 molecules cm−2, which is only 25 % of the total systematic uncertainty for most of the instruments in the MAD-CAT campaign. In summary most of the MAX-DOAS instruments can well observe the signals of atmospheric HONO absorption in case of HONO delta SCDs higher than 0.2 × 1015 molecules cm−2. However, systematic uncertainties limit the reliability of the results.

Citation: Wang, Y., Beirle, S., Hendrick, F., Hilboll, A., Jin, J., Kyuberis, A. A., Lampel, J., Li, A., Luo, Y., Lodi, L., Ma, J., Navarro, M., Ortega, I., Peters, E., Polyansky, O. L., Remmers, J., Richter, A., Rodriguez, O. P., Roozendael, M. V., Seyler, A., Tennyson, J., Volkamer, R., Xie, P., Zobov, N. F., and Wagner, T.: MAX-DOAS measurements of HONO slant column densities during the MAD-CAT Campaign: inter-comparison and sensitivity studies on spectral analysis settings, Atmos. Meas. Tech. Discuss., doi:10.5194/amt-2016-387, in review, 2017.
Yang Wang et al.
Yang Wang et al.
Yang Wang et al.

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Short summary
Slant column densities of nitrous acid (HONO) derived from different MAX-DOAS insturments and retrieval softwares are systematically compared for the first time during the Multi Axis DOAS – Comparison campaign for Aerosols and Trace gases (MAD-CAT) campaign held at MPIC in Mainz, Germany from June to October 2013. Through the intercomparisons and sensitivity studies we quantified the uncertainties in the DOAS fits of HONO from different sources and concluded a recommended setting.
Slant column densities of nitrous acid (HONO) derived from different MAX-DOAS insturments and...
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