Intercontinental transport of nitrogen oxide pollution plumes M. Wenig1,2,*, N. Spichtinger3, A. Stohl3, G. Held4, S. Beirle1, T. Wagner1, B. Jähne1,2, and U. Platt1 1Institut für Umweltphysik (IUP), Heidelberg University, Germany 2Interdisziplinäres Zentrum für Wissenschaftliches Rechnen, Heidelberg, Germany 3Lehrstuhl für Bioklimatologie und Immissionsforschung, TUM, Freising, Germany 4Instituto Pesquisas Meteorológicas, Universidade Estadual Paulista, Brazil *now at: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt MD, USA
Abstract. We describe the
first satellite observation of intercontinental transport of nitrogen oxides emitted by power plants,
verified by simulations with a particle tracer model. The analysis of such episodes shows that anthropogenic
NOx plumes may influence the atmospheric chemistry thousands of
kilometers away from its origin, as well as the ocean they traverse due to
nitrogen fertilization. This kind of monitoring became possible by applying
an improved algorithm to extract the tropospheric fraction of NO2 from the
spectral data coming from the GOME instrument.
As an example we show the observation of NO2 in the time period 4--14 May,
1998, from the South African Plateau to Australia which was possible due to
favourable weather conditions during that time period which availed the satellite measurement. This episode was also simulated with the Lagrangian
particle dispersion model FLEXPART which uses NOx emissions taken from an
inventory for industrial emissions in South Africa and is driven with analyses from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts.
Additionally lightning emissions were taken into account by utilizing Lightning Imaging
Sensor data. Lightning was found to contribute probably not more than 25% of the
resulting concentrations. Both, the measured and simulated emission plume show matching patterns while traversing the Indian Ocean to Australia and
show great resemblance to the aerosol and CO2 transport observed by
Piketh et al. (2000).
Citation: Wenig, M., Spichtinger, N., Stohl, A., Held, G., Beirle, S., Wagner, T., Jähne, B., and Platt, U.: Intercontinental transport of nitrogen oxide pollution plumes, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 3, 387-393, doi:10.5194/acp-3-387-2003, 2003.