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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2017-101
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
09 Mar 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).
NO2 pollution over India observed from space – the impact of rapid economic growth, and a recent decline
Andreas Hilboll1,2, Andreas Richter1, and John P. Burrows1 1Institute of Environmental Physics, University of Bremen, 28359 Bremen, Germany
2MARUM – Center for Marine Environmental Sciences, University of Bremen, 28359 Bremen, Germany
Abstract. The Indian economy has grown significantly during the past decades. Satellite-based remote sensing enables atmospheric pollution to be observed globally, in remote regions, and in regions where the infrastructure for air quality monitoring is limited. Here, we investigate the temporal evolution of tropospheric nitrogen dioxide (NO2) since the early 2000s, and correlate NO2 abundances with indicators of economic development, notably gross state domestic product and electricity generation capacity, for all 35 Indian states and union territories.

From 2003–2012, NO2 pollution and economic growth are strongly correlated, leading to annual increases of up to 4.4 %. This increase is strongest in states in East India having heavy industry. In 2012, the amount of tropospheric NO2 reached a maximum; since then, tropospheric NO2 pollution has stabilized or is even declining. While the Indian economy continues to grow, this decline in observed NO2 values may be a result of a slow-down in Indian economic growth, combined with the implementation of cleaner technology.

Additionally, we identify regional pollution sources such as individual steel smelters and the cement industry, which are severely degrading air quality. In Tamil Nadu, economic growth has not led to increasing NO2 columns, which we attribute to the investment in the development of renewable energy sources during the 2000s.


Citation: Hilboll, A., Richter, A., and Burrows, J. P.: NO2 pollution over India observed from space – the impact of rapid economic growth, and a recent decline, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2017-101, in review, 2017.
Andreas Hilboll et al.
Andreas Hilboll et al.
Andreas Hilboll et al.

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Short summary
We investigate the temporal evolution of the important tropospheric air pollutant nitrogen dioxide (NO2) since the early 2000s, and correlate NO2 abundances with indicators of economic development. Until 2012, NO2 pollution and economic growth are strongly correlated, with annual increases of up to 4.4 %. Since then, tropospheric NO2 pollution has stabilized or is even declining, probably as a result of a slow-down in Indian economic growth combined with the implementation of cleaner technology.
We investigate the temporal evolution of the important tropospheric air pollutant nitrogen...
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