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Nitrogen Dioxide Amounts in Atmosphere


Development of Novel Techniques for NO2 Column Retrieval and Estimate of its Radiative Forcing from Data of Existent Ground-Based Measurement Networks

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-APC/Air Pollution and Control/Environment

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Bunyatov K S

Leading Institute
Kurchatov Research Center / Institute for Molecular Physics, Russia, Moscow

Supporting institutes

  • Keldysh Institute of Applied Mathematics, Russia, Moscow\nMoscow State University, Russia, Moscow\nInstitute of Atmospheric Physics, Russia, Moscow


  • CNRS / Ecole Polytechnique / Laboratoire de Meteorologie Dynamique, France, Palaiseau\nUniversität Bremen / Institit fur Umweltphysik, Germany, Bremen

Project summary

The project is devoted to the research of the methodical and practical issues associated with the atmospheric NO2 column amount retrieval under conditions of the anthropogenic pollution using the data from the ground-based measuring facilities. The main project objective is to work out the novel technique of NO2 retrievals from the data of the global aerosol network - AERONET (AEROsol RObotic NETwork) including the experimental estimates of accuracy on the basis of direct in situ complex measurements of NO2 column under Moscow conditions.

The major volume of the experimental data to prove reliability of the developed technique will be obtained during three periods of intensive complex measurements, which will be carried out for different seasons of the year at the Meteorological Observatory of Moscow State University (MO MSU). Besides the Sun photometer - Cimel (the base device of AERONET) the spectrophotometers will be applied there as the reference instruments for the exact parallel measurements. The high spectral resolution of these instruments provides to practically exclude the impact of the uncertainties in aerosol optical characteristics on the NO2 column estimate. Also, the direct measurements of NO2 concentration executed by gas analyzers from different floors of the Main high-altitude building of MSU will be used as an additional source of benchmark data.

The performance of the complex measurements provides to develop the methods of the NO2 column determination using the reference instruments applied in global radiometric networks like AERONET and NSDC (Network for the Detection of Stratospheric Change), as well as to assess the methods’ feasibility under conditions of the anthropogenic pollution of the atmosphere surface layer. In the project framework the semi-empirical relationships between the surface NO2 concentrations and its column amount estimated by optical methods will be also established on the basis of relevant calculations for the NO2 vertical profiles using the model of the local gaseous species transfer.

It should be outlined that the numerical simulation of the measurement processes involving accurate consideration of the instruments design; the principles of their functioning as well as different error sources will precede the experimental measurements. On this basis the dedicated software application will be also developed capable of the NO2 radiative forcing estimates for different geographical zones.

The project results could be utilized practically in frame of the global radiometric networks functioning (AERONET and NDSC) mainly in context of the NO2 column determination under the anthropogenic pollutions. The developed methods and formulated recommendations provide to enhance the application efficiency of the data available from the above networks as well as those associated to the ecological monitoring. In particular this will promote the extended utilization of the above data in context of different ecological applications, in improving the atmospheric photo-chemical transport models, in validating the NO2 satellite measurements in industrial areas, as well as in accounting for NO2 impact in frame of regional climatological models.

The project actuality, its objectives and major problems have been widely discussed by international scientific community at the different conferences as well as in many scientific publications. The representatives of the well-known science institutions of Canada, France, Japan, Germany, and the USA have expressed the support of the project, and five of them have entered for the project as the collaborators.

The Russian research team incorporates the representatives from 4 leading scientific institutions of Moscow. The researchers, who have been formerly engaged in the nuclear weapons production and testing, will carry out the essential portion of the project work. Their summarized working time will be more than 70 per cent of the total one. In such a manner during the project fulfillment, their former research experience and practical skill associated with the military defense applications will be naturally readdressed to the solution of peaceful climatological and ecological problems.


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