Journal cover Journal topic
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
28 Nov 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of this manuscript was accepted for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP) and is expected to appear here in due course.
Impact of high-resolution a priori profiles on satellite-based formaldehyde retrievals
Si-Wan Kim1,2,3, Vijay Natraj4, Seoyoung Lee3, Hyeong-Ahn Kwon5, Rokjin Park5, Joost de Gouw1,2, Gregory Frost1, Jhoon Kim3, Jochen Stutz6, Michael Trainer1, Catalina Tsai6, and Carsten Warneke1,2 1NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, Chemical Sciences Division, Boulder, CO 80305, USA
2Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA
3Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea
4Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA
5Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea
6Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of California Los Angeles, CA, USA
Abstract. Formaldehyde (HCHO) is either directly emitted from sources or produced during the oxidation of volatile organic compounds in the troposphere. It is possible to infer atmospheric HCHO concentrations using space-based observations, which may be useful for studying emissions and tropospheric chemistry at urban to global scales depending on the quality of the retrievals. In the near future, an unprecedented volume of satellite-based HCHO measurement data will be available from both geostationary and polar-orbiting platforms. Therefore, it is essential to develop retrieval methods appropriate for the next-generation satellites that measure at higher spatial and temporal resolution than the current ones. In this study, we examine the importance of fine spatial and temporal resolution a priori profile information on the retrieval by conducting approximately 45 000 radiative transfer model calculations in the Los Angeles Basin megacity. Our analyses suggest that an air mass factor (AMF, ratio of slant columns to vertical columns) based on fine spatial and temporal resolution a priori profiles can better capture the spatial distributions of the enhanced HCHO plumes in an urban area than the nearly constant AMFs used for current operational products. For this urban area, the AMF values are inversely proportional to the magnitude of the HCHO mixing ratios in the boundary layer. Using our optimized model HCHO results in the Los Angeles Basin that mimic the HCHO retrievals from future geostationary satellites, we illustrate the effectiveness of HCHO data from geostationary measurements for understanding and predicting tropospheric ozone and its precursors.
Citation: Kim, S.-W., Natraj, V., Lee, S., Kwon, H.-A., Park, R., de Gouw, J., Frost, G., Kim, J., Stutz, J., Trainer, M., Tsai, C., and Warneke, C.: Impact of high-resolution a priori profiles on satellite-based formaldehyde retrievals, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss.,, in review, 2017.
Si-Wan Kim et al.


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Short summary
Formaldehyde (HCHO) is a hazardous air pollutant and is associated with tropospheric ozone production. HCHO has been monitored from space. In this study, to acquire high quality satellite-based HCHO observations, we utilized fine-resolution atmospheric chemistry model results as an input to the computer code for satellite retrievals over the LA Basin. Our study indicates that the use of fine-resolution profile shapes helps to identify HCHO plumes from space.
Formaldehyde (HCHO) is a hazardous air pollutant and is associated with tropospheric ozone...