Application of OMI observations to a space-based indicator of NOx and VOC...

Duncan, B., Y. Yoshida, J. Olson, S. Sillman, R. Martin, L. Lamsal, Y. Hu, K. Pickering, C. Retscher, D. Allen, and J. Crawford (2010), Application of OMI observations to a space-based indicator of NOx and VOC controls on surface ozone formation, Atmos. Environ., 44, 2213-2223, doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2010.03.010.

We investigated variations in the relative sensitivity of surface ozone formation in summer to precursor species concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) as inferred from the ratio of the tropospheric columns of formaldehyde to nitrogen dioxide (the “Ratio”) from the Aura Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI). Our modeling study suggests that ozone formation decreases with reductions in VOCs at Ratios <1 and NOx at Ratios >2; both NOx and VOC reductions may decrease ozone formation for Ratios between 1 and 2. Using this criteria, the OMI data indicate that ozone formation became: 1. more sensitive to NOx over most of the United States from 2005 to 2007 because of the substantial decrease in NOx emissions, primarily from stationary sources, and the concomitant decrease in the tropospheric column of NO2, and 2. more sensitive to NOx with increasing temperature, in part because emissions of highly reactive, biogenic isoprene increase with temperature, thus increasing the total VOC reactivity. In cities with relatively low isoprene emissions (e.g., Chicago), the data clearly indicate that ozone formation became more sensitive to NOx from 2005 to 2007. In cities with relatively high isoprene emissions (e.g., Atlanta), we found that the increase in the Ratio due to decreasing NOx emissions was not obvious as this signal was convolved with variations in the Ratio associated with the temperature dependence of isoprene emissions and, consequently, the formaldehyde concentration.

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