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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 6, issue 10 | Copyright
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 6, 2607-2626, 2013
© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 15 Oct 2013

Research article | 15 Oct 2013

A new stratospheric and tropospheric NO2 retrieval algorithm for nadir-viewing satellite instruments: applications to OMI

E. J. Bucsela1, N. A. Krotkov2, E. A. Celarier2,3, L. N. Lamsal2,3, W. H. Swartz2,4, P. K. Bhartia2, K. F. Boersma5,6, J. P. Veefkind5, J. F. Gleason2, and K. E. Pickering2 E. J. Bucsela et al.
  • 1SRI International, Menlo Park, CA 94025, USA
  • 2Laboratory for Atmospheres, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
  • 3Universities Space Research Association, Columbia, MD 21044, USA
  • 4Applied Physics Laboratory, The Johns Hopkins University, Laurel, MD 20723, USA
  • 5Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, De Bilt, the Netherlands
  • 6Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, the Netherlands

Abstract. We describe a new algorithm for the retrieval of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) vertical columns from nadir-viewing satellite instruments. This algorithm (SP2) is the basis for the Version 2.1 OMI This algorithm (SP2) is the basis for the Version 2.1 Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) NO2 Standard Product and features a novel method for separating the stratospheric and tropospheric columns. NO2 Standard Product and features a novel method for separating the stratospheric and tropospheric columns. The approach estimates the stratospheric NO2 directly from satellite data without using stratospheric chemical transport models or assuming any global zonal wave pattern. Tropospheric NO2 columns are retrieved using air mass factors derived from high-resolution radiative transfer calculations and a monthly climatology of NO2 profile shapes. We also present details of how uncertainties in the retrieved columns are estimated. The sensitivity of the retrieval to assumptions made in the stratosphere–troposphere separation is discussed and shown to be small, in an absolute sense, for most regions. We compare daily and monthly mean global OMI NO2 retrievals using the SP2 algorithm with those of the original Version 1 Standard Product (SP1) and the Dutch DOMINO product. The SP2 retrievals yield significantly smaller summertime tropospheric columns than SP1, particularly in polluted regions, and are more consistent with validation studies. SP2 retrievals are also relatively free of modeling artifacts and negative tropospheric NO2 values. In a reanalysis of an INTEX-B validation study, we show that SP2 largely eliminates an ~20% discrepancy that existed between OMI and independent in situ springtime NO2 SP1 measurements.

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