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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-2019-296
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2019-296
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 04 Sep 2019

Submitted as: research article | 04 Sep 2019

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

Validation of MAX-DOAS retrievals of aerosol extinction, SO2 and NO2 through comparison with lidar, sun photometer, Active-DOAS and aircraft measurements in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region

Zoë Y. W. Davis1, Udo Frieβ2, Kevin B. Strawbridge3, Monica Aggarwaal1, Sabour Baray4, Elijah G. Schnitzler5, Akshay Lobo4,a, Vitali E. Fioletov3, Ihab Abboud3, Chris A. McLinden3, Jim Whiteway1, Megan D. Willis5,b, Alex K. Y. Lee6, Jeff Brook3,c, Jason Olfert7, Jason O'Brien3, Ralf Staebler3, Hans D. Osthoff8, Cristian Mihele3, and Robert McLaren4 Zoë Y. W. Davis et al.
  • 1Department of Earth and Space, York University, Toronto, M3J 1P3, Canada
  • 2Institute of Environmental Physics, Heidelberg, 69120, Germany
  • 3Environment and Climate Change Canada, Toronto, M3H 5T4, Canada
  • 4Centre for Atmospheric Chemistry, York University, Toronto, M3J 1P3, Canada
  • 5Department of Chemistry, University of Toronto, M5S 3H6, Canada
  • 6Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, National University of Singapore, 117576, Singapore
  • 7Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 1H9
  • 8Department of Chemistry, University of Calgary, Calgary, T2N 1N4, Canada
  • anow at: Department of Orthopaedics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, V5Z 1M9, Canada
  • bnow at: Chemical Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, Berkeley, California, 94720, USA
  • cnow at: Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, M5S 3H6, Canada

Abstract. Vertical profiles of aerosols, NO2, and SO2 were retrieved from Multi-Axis Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy (MAX-DOAS) measurements at a field site in northern Alberta, Canada, during August and September 2013. The site is approximately 16 km north of two mining operations that are major sources of industrial pollution in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region. Pollution conditions during the study ranged from atmospheric background conditions to heavily polluted with elevated plumes, according to meteorology. This study aimed to evaluate the performance of the aerosol and trace gas retrievals through comparison with data from a suite of other instruments. Comparisons of AODs from MAX-DOAS aerosol retrievals, lidar vertical profiles of aerosol extinction, and AERONET sun photometer indicate good performance by the MAX-DOAS retrievals. These comparisons and modelling of the lidar S-ratio highlight the need for accurate knowledge of the temporal variation in the S-ratio when comparing MAX-DOAS and lidar data. Comparisons of MAX-DOAS NO2 and SO2 retrievals to Pandora spectral sun photometer VCDs and Active-DOAS mixing ratios indicate good performance of the retrievals except when vertical profiles of pollutants within the boundary layer varied rapidly, temporally and spatially. Near-surface retrievals tended to overestimate Active-DOAS mixing ratios. The MAX-DOAS observed elevated pollution plumes not observed by the Active-DOAS, highlighting one of the instrument's main advantages. Aircraft measurements of SO2 were used to validate retrieved vertical profiles of SO2. Advantages of the MAX-DOAS instrument include increasing sensitivity towards the surface and the ability to simultaneously retrieve vertical profiles of aerosols and trace gases without requiring additional parameters such as the S-ratio. This complex dataset provided a rare opportunity to evaluate the performance of the MAX-DOAS retrievals under varying atmospheric conditions.

Zoë Y. W. Davis et al.
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Short summary
Here, we evaluate a ground based remote sensing method (MAX-DOAS) for measuring total pollutant loading and vertical profiles of pollution in the lower atmosphere by comparing our method again a variety of other measurement methods (lidar, sunphotometer, active DOAS and aircraft measurements). Measurements were made in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region in Alberta, Canada. The complex dataset provided a rare opportunity to evaluate the performance of MAX-DOAS under varying atmospheric conditions.
Here, we evaluate a ground based remote sensing method (MAX-DOAS) for measuring total pollutant...
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