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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2018-423
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2018-423
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 17 Dec 2018

Research article | 17 Dec 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).

Intercomparison of MAX-DOAS Vertical Profile Retrieval Algorithms: Studies using Synthetic Data

Udo Frieß1, Steffen Beirle2, Leonardo Alvarado Bonilla3, Tim Bösch3, Martina M. Friedrich4, Francois Hendrick4, Ankie Piters5, Andreas Richter3, Michel van Roozendael4, Vladimir V. Rozanov3, Elena Spinei6,a, Jan-Lukas Tirpitz1, Tim Vlemmix5, Thomas Wagner2, and Yang Wang2 Udo Frieß et al.
  • 1Institute of Environmental Physics, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
  • 2Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany
  • 3Institute of Environmental Physics, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany
  • 4Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB), Brussels, Belgium
  • 5Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), De Bilt, The Netherlands
  • 6NASA-Goddard, Greenbelt, Maryland, USA
  • anow at: Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA

Abstract. Multi-Axis Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy (MAX-DOAS) is a widely used measurement technique for the detection of a variety of atmospheric trace gases. Using inverse modelling, the observation of trace gas column densities along different lines of sight enables the retrieval of aerosol and trace gas vertical profiles in the atmospheric boundary layer using appropriate retrieval algorithms. In this study, the ability of eight profile retrieval algorithms to reconstruct vertical profiles is assessed on the basis of synthetic measurements. Five of the algorithms are based on the optimal estimation method, two on parametrised approaches, and one using an analytical approach without involving any radiative transfer modelling. The synthetic measurements consist of the median of simulated slant column densities of O4 at 360 nm and 477 nm, as well as of HCHO at 343 nm and NO2 at 477 nm, from seven datasets simulated by five different radiative transfer models. Simulations are performed for a combination of 10 trace gas and 11 aerosol profiles, as well as 11 elevation angles, 3 solar 10 zenith and 3 relative azimuth angles. Overall, the results from the different algorithms show moderate to good performance for the retrieval of vertical profiles, surface concentrations and total columns. Except for some outliers, the root mean squares difference between true and retrieved state ranges between (0:05–0:1) km1 for aerosol extinction, and (2:5–5:0) × 1010 molec/cm3 for HCHO and NO2 concentrations.

Udo Frieß et al.
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Short summary
Multi-Axis Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy (MAX-DOAS) is a widely used measurement technique for the detection of a variety of atmospheric trace gases. It enables the retrieval of aerosol and trace gas vertical profiles in the atmospheric boundary layer using appropriate retrieval algorithms. In this study, the ability of eight profile retrieval algorithms to reconstruct vertical profiles is assessed on the basis of synthetic measurements.
Multi-Axis Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy (MAX-DOAS) is a widely used measurement...
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