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

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© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
05 Dec 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).
Detection of carbon monoxide pollution from megacities and wildfires on regional and urban scale: The benefit of CO column retrievals from SCIAMACHY 2.3 μm measurements under cloudy conditions
Tobias Borsdorff, Josip Andrasec, Joost aan de Brugh, Haili Hu, Ilse Aben, and Jochen Landgraf SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research, Utrecht, the Netherlands
Abstract. In the perspective of the upcoming Sentinel-5 Precursor carbon monoxide data product, we discuss the benefit of CO total column retrievals from cloud contaminated SCIAMACHY 2.3 micron shortwave infrared spectra to detect atmospheric CO enhancements on regional and urban scales due to emissions from megacities and wildfires. The study uses the operational Sentinel-5 Precursor algorithm SICOR, which infers the vertically integrated CO column together with effective cloud parameters. We investigate the capability to detect localized CO enhancements distinguishing between clear-sky observations and observations with low and medium-high clouds. Exemplary, we analyze CO enhancements over the megacities Paris, Los Angeles, and Tehran as well as the wildfire events in Mexico/Guatemala 2005 and Alaska/Canada 2004. The CO average of the SCIAMACHY full mission data set of clear-sky observations can detect weak CO enhancements of less than 10 ppb due to air pollution in these cities. For low cloud conditions, the CO data product performs similarly well. For medium-high clouds, the observations show a reduced CO signal both over Tehran and Los Angeles, while for Paris no significant CO enhancement can be detected. This indicates that information about the vertical distribution of CO can be obtained from the SCIAMACHY measurements. Moreover, for the Mexico/Guatemala fires, the low-cloud CO data captures a strong outflow of CO over the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean and so provides complementary information to clear-sky retrievals. For both burning events, enhanced CO values are even detectable with medium-high cloud retrievals, confirming a distinct vertical extension of the pollution. The larger number of additional measurements and hence the better spatial coverage, improves significantly the detection of wild fire pollution using both the clear-sky and cloudy CO retrievals. Due to the improved instrument performance of the TROPOMI instrument with respect to its precursor SCIAMACHY, the upcoming Sentinel-5 Precursor CO data product will allow to detect CO emission and its vertical extension of many more cities and wildfires and so opens new research opportunities.
Citation: Borsdorff, T., Andrasec, J., aan de Brugh, J., Hu, H., Aben, I., and Landgraf, J.: Detection of carbon monoxide pollution from megacities and wildfires on regional and urban scale: The benefit of CO column retrievals from SCIAMACHY 2.3 μm measurements under cloudy conditions, Atmos. Meas. Tech. Discuss.,, in review, 2017.
Tobias Borsdorff et al.
Tobias Borsdorff et al.
Tobias Borsdorff et al.


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