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Validation of urban NO2 concentrations and their diurnal and seasonal variations observed from the SCIAMACHY and OMI sensors using in situ surface measurements in Israeli cities

by K. F. Boersma, D. J. Jacob, M. Trainic, Y. Rudich, I. DeSmedt, R. Dirksen, H. J. Eskes
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics ()

Abstract

We compare a full-year (2006) record of surface air NO2 concentrations measured in Israeli cities to coin- ciding retrievals of tropospheric NO2 columns from satellite sensors (SCIAMACHY aboard ENVISAT and OMI aboard Aura). This provides a large statistical data set for valida- tion of NO2 satellite measurements in urban air, where vali- dation is difficult yet crucial for using these measurements to infer NOx emissions by inverse modeling. Assuming that NO2 is well-mixed throughout the boundary layer (BL), and using observed average seasonal boundary layer heights, near-surface NO2 concentrations are converted into BL NO2 columns. The agreement between OMI and (13:45) BL NO2 columns (slope=0.93, n=542), and the comparable results at 10:00 h for SCIAMACHY, allowa validation of the seasonal, weekly, and diurnal cycles in satellite-derived NO2. OMI and BL NO2 columns show consistent seasonal cycles (win- ter NO2 1.6–2.7× higher than summer). BL and coinciding OMI columns both showa strong weekly cycle with 45–50% smaller NO2 columns on Saturday relative to the weekday mean, reflecting the reduced weekend activity, and validating the weekly cycle observed from space. The diurnal differ- ence between SCIAMACHY (10:00) and OMI (13:45) NO2 is maximum in summer when SCIAMACHY is up to 40% higher than OMI, and minimum in winter when OMI slightly exceeds SCIAMACHY. A similar seasonal variation in the diurnal difference is found in the source region of Cairo. The surface measurements in Israel cities confirm this sea- sonal variation in the diurnal cycle. Using simulations from Correspondence to: F. Boersma (boersma@knmi.nl) a global 3-D chemical transport model (GEOS-Chem), we show that this seasonal cycle can be explained by a much stronger photochemical loss of NO2 in summer than in win- ter.

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