Satellite mapping of rain-induced nitric oxide emissions from soils

Jaeglé, L., R. V. Martin, K. Chance, L. Steinberger, T. Kurosu, D. J. Jacob, A. I. Modi, V. Yoboué, L. Sigha-Nkamdjou, and C. Galy-Lacaux (2004), Satellite mapping of rain-induced nitric oxide emissions from soils, J. Geophys. Res., 109, D21310, doi:10.1029/2004JD004787.

We use space-based observations of NO2 columns from the Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment (GOME) to map the spatial and seasonal variations of NOx emissions over Africa during 2000. The GOME observations show not only enhanced tropospheric NO2 columns from biomass burning during the dry season but also comparable enhancements from soil emissions during the rainy season over the Sahel. These soil emissions occur in strong pulses lasting 1–3 weeks following the onset of rain, and affect 3 million km2 of semiarid sub-Saharan savanna. Surface observations of NO2 from the International Global Atmospheric Chemistry (IGAC)/Deposition of Biochemically Important Trace Species (DEBITS)/Africa (IDAF) network over West Africa provide further evidence for a strong role for microbial soil sources. By combining inverse modeling of GOME NO2 columns with space-based observations of fires, we estimate that soils contribute 3.3 ± 1.8 TgN/year, similar to the biomass burning source (3.8 ± 2.1 TgN/year), and thus account for 40% of surface NOx emissions over Africa. Extrapolating to all the tropics, we estimate a 7.3 TgN/year biogenic soil source, which is a factor of 2 larger compared to model-based inventories but agrees with observationbased inventories. These large soil NOx emissions are likely to significantly contribute to the ozone enhancement originating from tropical Africa.

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Atmospheric Composition