Spherical air mass factors in one and two dimensions with SASKTRAN 1.6.0

Fehr, Lukas; McLinden, Chris; Griffin, Debora; Zawada, Daniel; Degenstein, Doug; Bourassa, Adam

Air quality measurements from geostationary orbit by the instrument TEMPO (Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution) will offer an unprecedented view of atmospheric composition over North America. Measurements over Canadian latitudes, however, offer unique challenges: TEMPO's lines of sight are shallower, the sun is lower, and snow cover is more common. All of these factors increase the impact of the sphericity and the horizontal inhomogeneity of the atmosphere on the accuracy of the air quality measurements. Air mass factors encapsulate the complex paths of the measured sunlight, but traditionally they ignore horizontal variability. For the high spatial resolution of modern instruments such as TEMPO, the error due to neglecting horizontal variability is magnified and needs to be characterized. Here we present developments to SASKTRAN, the radiative transfer framework developed at the University of Saskatchewan, to calculate air mass factors in a spherical atmosphere, with and without consideration of horizontal inhomogeneity. Recent upgrades to SASKTRAN include first-order spherical corrections for the discrete ordinates method and the capacity to compute air mass factors with the Monte Carlo method. Together with finite-difference air mass factors via the successive orders method, this creates a robust framework for computing air mass factors. One-dimensional air mass factors from all three methods are compared in detail and are found to be in good agreement. Two-dimensional air mass factors are computed with the deterministic successive orders method, demonstrating an alternative for a calculation which would typically be done only with a nondeterministic Monte Carlo method. The two-dimensional air mass factors are used to analyze a simulated TEMPO-like measurement over Canadian latitudes. The effect of a sharp horizontal feature in surface albedo and NOinline-formula2 was quantified while varying the distance of the feature from the intended measurement location. Such a feature in the surface albedo or inline-formulaNO2 could induce errors on the order of inline-formula5 % to inline-formula10 % at a distance of inline-formula50 km, and their combination could induce errors on the order of inline-formula10 % as far as inline-formula100 km away.

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Fehr, Lukas / McLinden, Chris / Griffin, Debora / et al: Spherical air mass factors in one and two dimensions with SASKTRAN 1.6.0. 2023. Copernicus Publications.

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