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Other research product . 2020

Comparison of tropospheric NO2 columns from MAX-DOAS retrievals and regional air quality model simulations

Blechschmidt, Anne-Marlene; Arteta, Joaquim; Coman, Adriana; Curier, Lyana; Eskes, Henk; Foret, Gilles; Gielen, Clio; +16 Authors
Open Access
Published: 06 Mar 2020

Multi-axis differential optical absorption spectroscopy (MAX-DOAS) tropospheric NO2 column retrievals from four European measurement stations are compared to simulations from five 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 evaluation, MAX-DOAS data are closer to the regional model data in terms of horizontal and vertical resolution, and multiple measurements are available during daylight, so that, for example, diurnal cycles of trace gases can be investigated. In general, there is good agreement between simulated and retrieved NO2 column values for individual MAX-DOAS measurements with correlations between 35 % and 70 % for individual models and 45 % to 75 % for the ensemble median for tropospheric NO2 vertical column densities (VCDs), indicating that emissions, transport and tropospheric chemistry of NOx are on average well simulated. However, large differences are found for individual pollution plumes observed by MAX-DOAS. Most of the models overestimate seasonal cycles for the majority of MAX-DOAS sites investigated. At the urban stations, weekly cycles are reproduced well, but the decrease towards the weekend is underestimated and diurnal cycles are overall not well represented. In particular, simulated morning rush hour peaks are not confirmed by MAX-DOAS retrievals, and models fail to reproduce observed changes in diurnal cycles for weekdays versus weekends. The results of this study show that future model development needs to concentrate on improving representation of diurnal cycles and associated temporal scalings.

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Funded by
Monitoring Atmospheric Composition and Climate Interim Implementation
  • Funder: European Commission (EC)
  • Project Code: 283576
  • Funding stream: FP7 | SP1 | SPA
Demonstration Network Of ground-based Remote Sensing Observations in support of the GMES Atmospheric Service
  • Funder: European Commission (EC)
  • Project Code: 284421
  • Funding stream: FP7 | SP1 | SPA
Monitoring Atmospheric Composition and Climate -III
  • Funder: European Commission (EC)
  • Project Code: 633080
  • Funding stream: H2020 | CSA