Journal: Atmospheric Measurement Techniques, vol. 13, 5513–5535, 2020
The Airborne ROmanian Measurements of Aerosols and Trace gases (AROMAT) campaigns took place in Romania in September 2014 and August 2015. They focused on two sites: the Bucharest urban area and large power plants in the Jiu Valley. The main objectives of the campaigns were to test recently developed airborne observation systems dedicated to air quality studies and to verify their applicability for the validation of space-borne atmospheric missions such as the TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI)/Sentinel-5 Precursor (S5P). We present the AROMAT campaigns from the perspective of findings related to the validation of tropospheric NO2, SO2, and H2CO. We also quantify the emissions of NOx and SO2 at both measurement sites.
We show that tropospheric NO2 vertical column density (VCD) measurements using airborne mapping instruments are well suited for satellite validation in principle. The signal-to-noise ratio of the airborne NO2 measurements is an order of magnitude higher than its space-borne counterpart when the airborne measurements are averaged at the TROPOMI pixel scale. However, we show that the temporal variation of the NO2 VCDs during a flight might be a significant source of comparison error. Considering the random error of the TROPOMI tropospheric NO2 VCD (σ), the dynamic range of the NO2 VCDs field extends from detection limit up to 37 σ (2.6×1016 molec. cm−2) and 29 σ (2×1016 molec. cm−2) for Bucharest and the Jiu Valley, respectively. For both areas, we simulate validation exercises applied to the TROPOMI tropospheric NO2 product. These simulations indicate that a comparison error budget closely matching the TROPOMI optimal target accuracy of 25 % can be obtained by adding NO2 and aerosol profile information to the airborne mapping observations, which constrains the investigated accuracy to within 28 %. In addition to NO2, our study also addresses the measurements of SO2 emissions from power plants in the Jiu Valley and an urban hotspot of H2CO in the centre of Bucharest. For these two species, we conclude that the best validation strategy would consist of deploying ground-based measurement systems at well-identified locations.