A global single-sensor analysis of 2002–2011 tropospheric nitrogen dioxide trends observed from space

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Abstract

[1] A global nine-year archive of monthly tropospheric NO2 data acquired by the SCanning Imaging Absorption spectroMeter for Atmospheric CartograpHY (SCIAMACHY) instrument was analyzed with respect to trends between August 2002 and August 2011. In the past, similar studies relied on combining data from multiple sensors; however, the length of the SCIAMACHY data set now for the first time allows utilization of a consistent time series from just a single sensor for mapping NO2 trends at comparatively high horizontal resolution (0.25°). This study provides an updated analysis of global patterns in NO2 trends and finds that previously reported decreases in tropospheric NO2 over Europe and the United States as well as strong increases over China and several megacities in Asia have continued in recent years. Positive trends of up to 4.05 (±0.41) × 1015 molecules cm−2 yr−1 and up to 19.7 (±1.9) % yr−1 were found over China, with the regional mean trend being 7.3 (±3.1) % yr−1. The megacity with the most rapid relative increase was found to be Dhaka in Bangladesh. Subsequently focusing on Europe, the study further analyzes trends by country and finds significantly decreasing trends for seven countries ranging from −3.0 (±1.6) % yr−1 to −4.5 (±2.3) % yr−1. A comparison of the satellite data with station data indicates that the trends derived from both sources show substantial differences on the station scale, i.e., when comparing a station trend directly with the equivalent satellite-derived trend at the same location, but provide quite similar large-scale spatial patterns. Finally, the SCIAMACHY-derived NO2 trends are compared with equivalent trends in NO2concentration computed using the Co-operative Programme for Monitoring and Evaluation of the Long-range Transmission of Air Pollutants in Europe (EMEP) model. The results show that the spatial patterns in trends computed from both data sources mostly agree in Central and Western Europe, whereas substantial differences are found in Eastern Europe.

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