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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-2019-6
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2019-6
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 28 Jan 2019

Research article | 28 Jan 2019

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

Observation of nocturnal NO3 during vehicular activities in the medium sized city of Calicut in coastal India

Kuttoth Suhail1, Ramachandran Arun1, Shreya Joshi2, John Shebin1, Saseendran Aiswarya1, Pakkattil Anoop1, Viswanath Deepa3, and Ravi Varma1 Kuttoth Suhail et al.
  • 1Department of Physics, National Institute of Technology Calicut, Calicut, 673601, India
  • 2Optind Solutions Pvt. LTD., Unit 11, Technology Business Incubator, National Institute of Technology Calicut, Calicut, 673601, India
  • 3Department of Physics, VTM NSS College, Trivandrum, 695503, India

Abstract. Nitrate radical (NO3) is the most important nocturnal oxidant in urban atmosphere. The city of Calicut (Kozhikode) is a medium sized urban location in India. One of the bus terminals at Palayam part of the city [11.2495° N, 75.7842° E] is adjacent to the vegetable sorting facilities cum market, both of which have intense activities by buses and trucks from about 3 AM till about 8 PM on all working days. We report preliminary measurements observing NO3 on five nights during a weeklong measurement campaign in the autumn of 2018. Measurements were made between 10 PM and 6 AM, and focus was when diesel vehicles were found idling along about half a km stretch during 3–6 AM while the loading/unloading of vegetables at sorting facility happens. Incoherent Broadband Cavity Enhanced Absorption Spectroscopic technique in open-path configuration (OP-IBBCEAS) was employed for measurements. The instrument was installed 8.5 m above the ground level over the east wing of Palayam bus terminal building adjacent to the vegetable market. The 285 cm long optical resonator was arranged on a custom-made aluminium profile platform 1 m high. The stability of the instrument for the entire period of measurement was excellent, and high NO3 mixing ratios with levels exceeding several hundred pptv were observed during early morning hours when heavy vehicles were idling. The highest NO3 mixing ratio observed was (497 ± 140) pptv during one of the nights. The fit uncertainty, which was considered as the uncertainty in retrieved concentration, was found to increase with increased aerosol loading. The uncertainty for a spectral averaging interval of 10 min was recorded as ~20 pptv and ~100 pptv during the lowest and the highest aerosol loading events respectively.

Kuttoth Suhail et al.
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Short summary
Open Path Incoherent Broad Band Cavity Enhanced Absorption Spectroscopy (OP–IBBCEAS) technique was found useful in sensitive ambient monitoring of nocturnal nitrate radical (NO3) in a medium sized urban location of Calicut city, India, for the first time; highest observed value was ~0.5 ppbv. The measurement location witnessed idling diesel vehicles activities during high observed NO3 levels. Concurrent PM measurements showed increased detection uncertainty during high aerosol loading events.
Open Path Incoherent Broad Band Cavity Enhanced Absorption Spectroscopy (OP–IBBCEAS) technique...
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