Intercomparison of four airborne imaging DOAS systems for tropospheric NO2 mapping - the AROMAPEX campaign

Frederik Tack*, Alexis Merlaud, Andreas C. Meier, Tim Vlemmix, Thomas Ruhtz, Marian Daniel Iordache, Xinrui Ge, Len Van Der Wal, Dirk Schuettemeyer, More Authors

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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We present an intercomparison study of four airborne imaging DOAS instruments, dedicated to the retrieval and high-resolution mapping of tropospheric nitrogen dioxide (NO2) vertical column densities (VCDs). The AROMAPEX campaign took place in Berlin, Germany, in April 2016 with the primary objective to test and intercompare the performance of experimental airborne imagers. The imaging DOAS instruments were operated simultaneously from two manned aircraft, performing synchronised flights: APEX (VITO–BIRA-IASB) was operated from DLR's DO-228 D-CFFU aircraft at 6.2 km in altitude, while AirMAP (IUP-Bremen), SWING (BIRA-IASB), and SBI (TNO–TU Delft–KNMI) were operated from the FUB Cessna 207T D-EAFU at 3.1 km. Two synchronised flights took place on 21 April 2016. NO2 slant columns were retrieved by applying differential optical absorption spectroscopy (DOAS) in the visible wavelength region and converted to VCDs by the computation of appropriate air mass factors (AMFs). Finally, the NO2 VCDs were georeferenced and mapped at high spatial resolution. For the sake of harmonising the different data sets, efforts were made to agree on a common set of parameter settings, AMF look-up table, and gridding algorithm. The NO2 horizontal distribution, observed by the different DOAS imagers, shows very similar spatial patterns. The NO2 field is dominated by two large plumes related to industrial compounds, crossing the city from west to east. The major highways A100 and A113 are also identified as line sources of NO2. Retrieved NO2 VCDs range between 1×1015 molec cm−2 upwind of the city and 20×1015 molec cm−2 in the dominant plume, with a mean of 7.3±1.8×1015 molec cm−2 for the morning flight and between 1 and 23×1015 molec cm−2 with a mean of 6.0±1.4×1015 molec cm−2 for the afternoon flight. The mean NO2 VCD retrieval errors are in the range of 22 % to 36 % for all sensors. The four data sets are in good agreement with Pearson correlation coefficients better than 0.9, while the linear regression analyses show slopes close to unity and generally small intercepts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-236
Number of pages26
JournalAtmospheric Measurement Techniques
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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