Comprehensive evaluations of diurnal NO2 measurements during DISCOVER-AQ 2011: Effects of resolution dependent representation of NOx emissions
Abstract. Nitrogen oxides (NOx = NO + NO2) play a crucial role in the formation of ozone and secondary inorganic and organic aerosols, thus affecting human health, global radiation budget, and climate. The diurnal and spatial variations of NO2 are functions of emissions, advection, deposition, vertical mixing, and chemistry. Their observations, therefore, provide useful constraints in our understanding of these factors. We employ a Regional chEmical and trAnsport model (REAM) to analyze the
... to analyze the observed temporal (diurnal cycles) and spatial distributions of NO2 concentrations and tropospheric vertical column densities (TVCDs) using aircraft in situ measurements, surface EPA Air Quality System (AQS) observations, as well as the measurements of TVCDs by satellite instruments (OMI: the Ozone Monitoring Instrument; and GOME-2A: Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment – 2A), ground-based Pandora, and the Airborne Compact Atmospheric Mapper (ACAM) instrument, in July 2011 during the DISCOVER-AQ campaign over the Baltimore-Washington region. The model simulations at 36- and 4-km resolutions are in reasonably good agreement with the temporospatial NO2 observations in the daytime. However, nighttime mixing in the model needs to be enhanced to reproduce the observed NO2 diurnal cycle in the model. Another discrepancy is that Pandora measured NO2 TVCDs show much less variation in the late afternoon than simulated in the model. Relative to the 36-km model simulations, the 4-km model results show larger biases compared to the observations due largely to the larger spatial variations of NO2 in the model when the spatial resolution is increased from 36 to 4 km, although the biases are often comparable to the ranges of the observations. The high-resolution aircraft ACAM observations show a more dispersed distribution of NO2 vertical column densities (VCDs) and lower VCDs in urban regions than 4-km model simulations, reflecting likely the spatial distribution bias of NOx emissions in the National Emissions Inventory (NEI) 2011 at high resolution.