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Volume 16, issue 7
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 4605-4629, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-16-4605-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Special issue: Ten years of Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) observations...

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 4605-4629, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-16-4605-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 13 Apr 2016

Research article | 13 Apr 2016

Aura OMI observations of regional SO2 and NO2 pollution changes from 2005 to 2015

Nickolay A. Krotkov1, Chris A. McLinden2, Can Li3,1, Lok N. Lamsal4,1, Edward A. Celarier4,1, Sergey V. Marchenko5,1, William H. Swartz6,1, Eric J. Bucsela7, Joanna Joiner1, Bryan N. Duncan1, K. Folkert Boersma8,9, J. Pepijn Veefkind9,10, Pieternel F. Levelt9,10, Vitali E. Fioletov2, Russell R. Dickerson11, Hao He11, Zifeng Lu12, and David G. Streets12 Nickolay A. Krotkov et al.
  • 1Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, USA
  • 2Air Quality Research Division, Environment Canada, Toronto, Canada
  • 3Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, University of Maryland, College Park, USA
  • 4GESTAR, Universities Space Research Association, Columbia, Maryland, USA
  • 5Science Systems and Applications, Inc., Lanham, Maryland, USA
  • 6Applied Physics Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University, Laurel, Maryland, USA
  • 7SRI International, Menlo Park, California, USA
  • 8Meteorology and Air Quality Group, Wageningen University, the Netherlands
  • 9Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, De Bilt, the Netherlands
  • 10University of Technology Delft, Delft, the Netherlands
  • 11Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, USA
  • 12Energy Systems Division, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, IL, USA

Abstract. The Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) onboard NASA's Aura satellite has been providing global observations of the ozone layer and key atmospheric pollutant gases, such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2), since October 2004. The data products from the same instrument provide consistent spatial and temporal coverage and permit the study of anthropogenic and natural emissions on local-to-global scales. In this paper, we examine changes in SO2 and NO2 over some of the world's most polluted industrialized regions during the first decade of OMI observations. In terms of regional pollution changes, we see both upward and downward trends, sometimes in opposite directions for NO2 and SO2, for different study areas. The trends are, for the most part, associated with economic and/or technological changes in energy use, as well as regional regulatory policies. Over the eastern US, both NO2 and SO2 levels decreased dramatically from 2005 to 2015, by more than 40 and 80%, respectively, as a result of both technological improvements and stricter regulations of emissions. OMI confirmed large reductions in SO2 over eastern Europe's largest coal-fired power plants after installation of flue gas desulfurization devices. The North China Plain has the world's most severe SO2 pollution, but a decreasing trend has been observed since 2011, with about a 50% reduction in 2012–2015, due to an economic slowdown and government efforts to restrain emissions from the power and industrial sectors. In contrast, India's SO2 and NO2 levels from coal power plants and smelters are growing at a fast pace, increasing by more than 100 and 50%, respectively, from 2005 to 2015. Several SO2 hot spots observed over the Persian Gulf are probably related to oil and gas operations and indicate a possible underestimation of emissions from these sources in bottom-up emission inventories. Overall, OMI observations have proved valuable in documenting rapid changes in air quality over different parts of the world during last decade. The baseline established during the first 11 years of OMI is indispensable for the interpretation of air quality measurements from current and future satellite atmospheric composition missions.

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We examine changes in SO2 and NO2 over the world's most polluted regions during the first decade of Aura OMI observations. Over the eastern US, both NO2 and SO2 levels decreased by 40 % and 80 %, respectively. OMI confirmed large reductions in SO2 over eastern Europe's largest coal power plants. The North China Plain has the world's most severe SO2 pollution, but a decreasing trend been observed since 2011, with a 50 % reduction in 2012–2014. India's SO2 and NO2 levels are growing at a fast pace.
We examine changes in SO2 and NO2 over the world's most polluted regions during the first decade...
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