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
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.