Comparison of tropospheric NO<sub>2</sub> columns from MAX-DOAS retrievals and regional air quality model simulations

  • Blechschmidt A
  • Arteta J
  • Coman A
  • et al.
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<p><strong>Abstract.</strong> Tropospheric NO<sub>2</sub> is hazardous to human health and can lead to tropospheric ozone formation, eutrophication of ecosystems and acid rain production. It is therefore important to establish accurate data based on models and observations to understand and monitor tropospheric NO<sub>2</sub> concentrations on a regional and global scale.<br><br> In the present study, MAX-DOAS tropospheric NO<sub>2</sub> column retrievals from four European measurement stations are compared to regional model ensemble simulations. The latter are based on regional air quality models which contribute to the European regional ensemble forecasts and reanalyses of the operational Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS). Compared to other observational data usually applied for regional model validation, MAX-DOAS data is closer to the regional model data in terms of horizontal and vertical resolution and measurements are available during daylight.<br><br> In general, there is a good agreement between simulated and retrieved NO<sub>2</sub> column values for individual MAX-DOAS measurements with correlations between 45 and 75<span class="thinspace"></span>% for tropospheric NO<sub>2</sub> VCDs, indicating that the model ensemble represents the emission and tropospheric chemistry of NO<sub><i>x</i></sub> (NO<span class="thinspace"></span>+<span class="thinspace"></span>NO<sub>2</sub>) well. Pollution transport towards the stations is on average well represented by the models. However, large differences are found for individual pollution plumes. Seasonal cycles are overestimated, weekly cycles are reproduced well and diurnal cycles poorly represented by the model ensemble. In particular, simulated morning rush hour peaks are not confirmed by MAX-DOAS retrievals. Our results demonstrate that a large number of validation points are available from MAX-DOAS measurements, which should therefore be used more extensively in future regional air quality modelling studies.</p>




Blechschmidt, A.-M., Arteta, J., Coman, A., Curier, L., Eskes, H., Foret, G., … Burrows, J. P. (2017). Comparison of tropospheric NO&lt;sub&gt;2&lt;/sub&gt; columns from MAX-DOAS retrievals and regional air quality model simulations. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions, 1–50.

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