Minimizing aerosol effects on the OMI tropospheric NO2 retrieval – An improved use of the 477 nm O2-O2 band and an estimation of the aerosol correction uncertainty

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Short summary

Reference OMI tropospheric NO2 product was reprocessed by applying new aerosol correction parameters retrieved from the 477 nm O2-O2 band, over east China and South America for 2 years. These new parameters are from different and separate algorithms allowing an improved use of the 477 nm O2-O2 band. All the tested approaches improve the aerosol correction in the OMI tropospheric NO2 product. We demonstrate the possibility to apply an explicit aerosol correction based on the 477 nm O2-O2band.

Key figures

Maps_AOD_NO2_ChinaSummer.jpg
Average maps of MODIS τ(550 nm), OMI DOMINO tropospheric NO2 VCD and differences after applying the implicit (with OMCLDO2-New) or explicit (with NNMODIS,ω0=0.95) aerosol correction over China in summertime (June-July-August) 2006-2007: (a) MODIS τ(550 nm), (b) OMI tropospheric NO2 VCD DOMINO,(c) OMI tropospheric NO2 VCD differences due to changes between OMCLDO2-New and DOMINO implicit aerosol corrections, (d) tropospheric NO2 VCD differences between explicit aerosol correction based on the NNMODIS,ω0=0.95 aerosol parameters (i.e. aerosol forward model assuming ω0 = 0.95, MODIS τ (550 nm), and retrieved ALH) and implicit aerosol correction implemented in DOMINO.
All_NO2Diffs_OMCLDONew.jpg
Statistics of relative tropospheric NO2 VCD changes in (%) in 2006-2007, due to differences between the different explicit aerosol corrections and the implicit aerosol correction based on OMCLDO2-New: (a), and (b): China summertime (June-July-August), (c), and (d): China wintertime (December-January-February), (e), and (f): South America biomass burning season (August-September).
Maps_CH_ALH.jpg
Maps of cp (converted into cloud height) from OMCLDO2-New and ALH from NNMODIS, ω0=0.95 in [km] in 2006-2007: (a) cp, China Summer, (b) ALH, China Summer, (c) cp, China Winter, (d) ALH, China Winter, (e) cp, South America, (f) ALH, South America.

Abstract

Global mapping of satellite tropospheric NO2 vertical column density (VCD), a key gas in air quality monitoring, requires accurate retrievals over complex urban and industrialized areas. The high abundance of aerosol particles in regions dominated by anthropogenic fossil fuel combustion, mega-cities and biomass burning affects the space-borne spectral measurement. Minimizing the tropospheric NO2 VCD biases under such conditions are one of the main challenges for the retrieval from air quality satellite instruments. In this study, reference Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) DOMINO-v2 product was reprocessed over cloud-free scenes, by applying new aerosol correction parameters retrieved from the 477nm O2-O2 band, over east China and South America for 2 years (2006–2007). These new parameters are based on two different and separate algorithms developed during the last two years in view of an improved use of the 477nm O2-O2 band: (1) the updated OMCLDO2 algorithm which derives improved effective cloud parameters, (2) the aerosol neural network (NN) giving explicit aerosol parameters by assuming a more physical aerosol model. The OMI aerosol NN is a step ahead to OMCLDO2 by retrieving primarily an explicit aerosol layer height (ALH), and secondly an aerosol optical thickness τ for cloud-free observations. Overall, it was found that all the considered aerosol correction parameters reduce the biases identified in DOMINO-v2 over scenes in China with high aerosol abundance and scattering particles: e.g. from [−20:−40]% to [0:20]% in summertime. The use of the retrieved OMI aerosol parameters leads in general to a more explicit aerosol correction and higher tropospheric NO2 VCD values, in the range of [0:40]%, than from the implicit correction with the updated OMCLDO2. This number overall represents an estimation of the aerosol correction strategy uncertainty nowadays for tropospheric NO2 VCD retrieval from space-borne visible measurements. The explicit aerosol correction theoretically includes more realistic aerosol multiple scattering and absorption effects, especially over scenes dominated by strongly absorbing particles, where the correction based on OMCLDO2 seems to remain insufficient. However, the use of ALH and τ from the OMI NN aerosol algorithm is not a straightforward operation and future studies are required to identify the optimal methodology. Several elements to be considered are recommended in this paper. Overall, we demonstrate the possibility to apply a more explicit aerosol correction by considering aerosol parameters directly derived from the 477nm O2-O2 spectral band, measured by the same satellite instrument. Such an approach can, in theory, easily be transposed to the new-generation of space-borne instruments (e.g. TROPOMI on-board Sentinel-5 Precursor), enabling a fast reprocessing of tropospheric NO2 data over cloud-free scenes (cloudy pixels need to be filtered out), as well as for other trace gas retrievals (e.g. SO2, HCHO).

More information

Chimot, J., Veefkind, J. P., de Haan, J. F., Stammes, P., and Levelt, P. F.: Minimizing aerosol effects on the OMI tropospheric NO2 retrieval – An improved use of the 477 nm O2-O2 band and an estimation of the aerosol correction uncertainty, Atmos. Meas. Tech. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2018-247, in review, 2018.