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

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© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
08 Feb 2018
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).
NDACC harmonized formaldehyde time-series from 21 FTIR stations covering a wide range of column abundances
Corinne Vigouroux1, Carlos Augusto Bauer Aquino2, Maïté Bauwens1, Cornelis Becker3, Thomas Blumenstock4, Martine De Mazière1, Omaira García5, Michel Grutter6, César Guarin6, James Hannigan7, Frank Hase4, Nicholas Jones8, Rigel Kivi9, Dmitry Koshelev10, Bavo Langerock1, Erik Lutsch11, Maria Makarova12, Jean-Marc Metzger13, Jean-François Müller1, Justus Notholt14, Ivan Ortega7, Mathias Palm15, Clare Paton-Walsh8, Anatoly Poberovskii12, Markus Rettinger15, John Robinson16, Dan Smale16, Trissevgeni Stavrakou1, Wolfgang Stremme6, Kim Strong11, Ralf Sussmann15, Yao Té10, and Geoffrey Toon17 1Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB), Brussels, Belgium
2Instituto Federal de Educaçao (IFRO), Ciência e Tecnologia de Rondônia, Porto Velho, Brazil
3Stichting Atmospherische en Hydrologische Ontwikkeling (SAHO), Paramaribo, Suriname
4Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), IMK-ASF, Karlsruhe, Germany
5Izaña Atmospheric Research Centre (IARC), Agencia Estatal de Meteorología (AEMET), Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain
6Centro de Ciencias de la Atmósfera, Universidad Nacional Au tónoma de México (UNAM), 04510 Mexico City, México
7Atmospheric Chemistry, Observations & Modeling, National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Boulder, CO, USA
8Centre for Atmospheric Chemistry, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia
9Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI), Sodankylä, Finland
10LERMA-IPSL, Sorbonne Université, CNRS, PSL Research University, Observatoire de Paris, 75005 Paris, France
11Department of Physics, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
12Saint Petersburg State University, Atmospheric Physics Department, St. Petersburg, Russia
13Observatoire des Sciences de l’Univers Réunion (OSU-R), UMS 3365, Université de la Réunion, Saint-Denis, France
14Institute of Environmental Physics, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany
15Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), IMK-IFU, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
16National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd (NIWA), Lauder, New Zealand
17Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA
Abstract. Among the more than twenty ground-based FTIR (Fourier Transform infrared) stations currently operating around the globe, only a few have provided formaldehyde (HCHO) total columns time-series until now. Although several independent studies have shown that the FTIR measurements can provide accurate and precise formaldehyde total columns, the spatial coverage has not been optimal for providing good diagnostics for satellite or model validation. Furthermore, these past studies used different retrieval settings, and biases as large as 50 % can be observed in the HCHO total columns depending on these retrieval choices, which is also a weakness for validation studies combining data from different ground-based stations.

For the present work, the HCHO retrieval settings have been optimized based on experience gained from the past studies and have been applied consistently at the 21 participating stations, most of them are either part of the Network for the Detection of Atmospheric Composition Change (NDACC), or under consideration for membership. We provide the harmonized settings and a characterization of the HCHO FTIR products. Depending on the station, the systematic and random uncertainties of an individual HCHO total column measurement lie between 11 and 31 %; and between 1 and 11 × 1014  molec/cm2, respectively, with median values among all stations of 14 % and 2.6 × 1014 molec/cm2.

This unprecedented harmonized formaldehyde data set from 21 ground-based FTIR stations is presented and its comparison to a global chemistry transport model shows its consistency, in absolute values as well as in seasonal cycles. The network covers very different concentration levels of formaldehyde, from very clean levels at the limit of detection (few 1013 molec/cm2) to highly polluted levels (7 × 1016 molec/cm2). Because the measurements can be made at any time during daylight, the diurnal cycle can be observed and is found to be significant at many stations. These HCHO time-series, some of them starting in the 1990's, are crucial for past and present satellite validation, and will be extended in the coming years for the next generation of satellite missions.

Citation: Vigouroux, C., Bauer Aquino, C. A., Bauwens, M., Becker, C., Blumenstock, T., De Mazière, M., García, O., Grutter, M., Guarin, C., Hannigan, J., Hase, F., Jones, N., Kivi, R., Koshelev, D., Langerock, B., Lutsch, E., Makarova, M., Metzger, J.-M., Müller, J.-F., Notholt, J., Ortega, I., Palm, M., Paton-Walsh, C., Poberovskii, A., Rettinger, M., Robinson, J., Smale, D., Stavrakou, T., Stremme, W., Strong, K., Sussmann, R., Té, Y., and Toon, G.: NDACC harmonized formaldehyde time-series from 21 FTIR stations covering a wide range of column abundances, Atmos. Meas. Tech. Discuss.,, in review, 2018.
Corinne Vigouroux et al.
Corinne Vigouroux et al.
Corinne Vigouroux et al.


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Short summary
A few ground-based stations have provided HCHO columns time-series until now, which was not optimal for providing good diagnostics for satellite or model validation. In this work, HCHO time-series have been determined in a harmonized way at 21 stations assuring, in addition to a better spatial and level of abundances coverage, that internal biases within the network have been minimized. This data set shows consistent good agreement with model data, and is ready for future satellite validation.
A few ground-based stations have provided HCHO columns time-series until now, which was not...