Evaluation of OMI Operational Standard NO2 Column Retrievals Using in Situ and Surface-Based NO2 Observations


Lamsal, L. N., Krotkov, N. A., Celarier, E. A., Swartz, W. H., Pickering, K. E., Bucsela, E. J., . . . Knepp, T. N. (2014). Evaluation of OMI operational standard NO2 column retrievals using in situ and surface-based NO2 observations. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 14(21), 11587-11609.


We assess the standard operational nitrogen dioxide (NO2) data product (OMNO2, version 2.1) retrieved from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) onboard NASA’s Aura satellite using a combination of aircraft and surface in situ measurements as well as ground-based column measurements at several locations and a bottom-up NOx emission inventory over the continental US. Despite considerable sampling differences, NO2 vertical column densities from OMI are modestly correlated (r = 0.3–0.8) with in situ measurements of tropospheric NO2 from aircraft, ground-based observations of NO2 columns from MAX-DOAS and Pandora instruments, in situ surface NO2measurements from photolytic converter instruments, and a bottom-up NOx emission inventory. Overall, OMI retrievals tend to be lower in urban regions and higher in remote areas, but generally agree with other measurements to within ± 20%. No consistent seasonal bias is evident. Contrasting results between different data sets reveal complexities behind NO2 validation. Monthly mean vertical NO2 profile shapes from the Global Modeling Initiative (GMI) chemistry-transport model (CTM) used in the OMI retrievals are highly consistent with in situ aircraft measurements, but these measured profiles exhibit considerable day-to-day variation, affecting the retrieved daily NO2 columns by up to 40%. This assessment of OMI tropospheric NO2 columns, together with the comparison of OMI-retrieved and model-simulated NO2columns, could offer diagnostic evaluation of the model.

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