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Effect of changing NOx lifetime on the seasonality and long-term trends of...

Shah, V., D. Jacob, K. Li, R. F. Silvern, S. Zhai, M. Liu, J. Lin, and Q. Zhang (2020), Effect of changing NOx lifetime on the seasonality and long-term trends of satellite-observed tropospheric NO2 columns over China, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 20, 1483-1495, doi:10.5194/acp-20-1483-2020.

Satellite observations of tropospheric NO2 columns are extensively used to infer trends in anthropogenic emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx ≡ NO + NO2 ), but this may be complicated by trends in NOx lifetime. Here we use 2004–2018 observations from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) satellite-based instrument (QA4ECV and POMINO v2 retrievals) to examine the seasonality and trends of tropospheric NO2 columns over central–eastern China, and we interpret the results with the GEOS-Chem chemical transport model. The observations show a factor of 3 increase in NO2 columns from summer to winter, which we explain in GEOS-Chem as reflecting a longer NOx lifetime in winter than in summer (21 h versus 5.9 h in 2017). The 2005–2018 summer trends of OMI NO2 closely follow the trends in the Multi-resolution Emission Inventory for China (MEIC), with a rise over the 2005–2011 period and a 25 % decrease since. We find in GEOS-Chem no significant trend of the NOx lifetime in summer, supporting the emission trend reported by the MEIC. The winter trend of OMI NO2 is steeper than in summer over the entire period, which we attribute to a decrease in NOx lifetime at lower NOx emissions. Half of the NOx sink in winter is from N2 O5 hydrolysis, which counterintuitively becomes more efficient as NOx emissions decrease due to less titration of ozone at night. The formation of organic nitrates also becomes an increasing sink of NOx as NOx emissions decrease but emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) do not.

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Atmospheric Composition Modeling and Analysis Program (ACMAP)
Aura OMI