MAX-DOAS measurements of tropospheric NO2 and HCHO in Nanjing and a comparison to ozone monitoring instrument observations
In this paper, we present long-term observations of atmospheric nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and formaldehyde (HCHO) in Nanjing using a Multi-AXis Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy (MAX-DOAS) instrument. Ground-based MAX-DOAS measurements were performed from April 2013 to February 2017. The MAX-DOAS measurements of NO2 and HCHO vertical column densities (VCDs) are used to validate ozone monitoring instrument (OMI) satellite observations over Nanjing. The comparison shows that the OMI observations of NO2 correlate well with the MAX-DOAS data with Pearson correlation coefficient (R) of 0.91. However, OMI observations are on average a factor of 3 lower than the MAX-DOAS measurements. Replacing the a priori NO2 profiles by the MAX-DOAS profiles in the OMI NO2 VCD retrieval would increase the OMI NO2 VCDs by ∼30 % with correlation nearly unchanged. The comparison result of MAX-DOAS and OMI observations of HCHO VCD shows a good agreement with R of 0.75 and the slope of the regression line is 0.99. An age-weighted backward-propagation approach is applied to the MAX-DOAS measurements of NO2 and HCHO to reconstruct the spatial distribution of NO2 and HCHO over the Yangtze River Delta during summer and winter time. The reconstructed NO2 fields show a distinct agreement with OMI satellite observations. However, due to the short atmospheric lifetime of HCHO, the backward-propagated HCHO data do not show a strong spatial correlation with the OMI HCHO observations. The result shows that the MAX-DOAS measurements are sensitive to the air pollution transportation in the Yangtze River Delta, indicating the air quality in Nanjing is significantly influenced by regional transportation of air pollutants. The MAX-DOAS data are also used to evaluate the effectiveness of air pollution control measures implemented during the Youth Olympic Games 2014. The MAX-DOAS data show a significant reduction of ambient aerosol, NO2 and HCHO (30 %–50 %) during the Youth Olympic Games. Our results provide a better understanding of the transportation and sources of pollutants over the Yangtze River Delta as well as the effect of emission control measures during large international events, which are important for the future design of air pollution control policies.