Journal cover Journal topic
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 5283-5298, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-16-5283-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
28 Apr 2016
NOx lifetimes and emissions of cities and power plants in polluted background estimated by satellite observations
Fei Liu1,2,3, Steffen Beirle3, Qiang Zhang2, Steffen Dörner3, Kebin He1,2, and Thomas Wagner3 1State Key Joint Laboratory of Environment Simulation and Pollution Control, School of Environment, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
2Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Earth System Modeling, Center for Earth System Science, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
3Max-Planck-Institut für Chemie, Mainz 55128, Germany
Abstract. We present a new method to quantify NOx emissions and corresponding atmospheric lifetimes from OMI NO2 observations together with ECMWF wind fields without further model input for sources located in a polluted background. NO2 patterns under calm wind conditions are used as proxy for the spatial patterns of NOx emissions, and the effective atmospheric NOx lifetime is determined from the change of spatial patterns measured at larger wind speeds. Emissions are subsequently derived from the NO2 mass above the background, integrated around the source of interest.

Lifetimes and emissions are estimated for 17 power plants and 53 cities located in non-mountainous regions across China and the USA. The derived lifetimes for the ozone season (May–September) are 3.8 ± 1.0 h (mean ± standard deviation) with a range of 1.8 to 7.5 h. The derived NOx emissions show generally good agreement with bottom-up inventories for power plants and cities. Regional inventory shows better agreement with top-down estimates for Chinese cities compared to global inventory, most likely due to different downscaling approaches adopted in the two inventories.


Citation: Liu, F., Beirle, S., Zhang, Q., Dörner, S., He, K., and Wagner, T.: NOx lifetimes and emissions of cities and power plants in polluted background estimated by satellite observations, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 5283-5298, https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-16-5283-2016, 2016.
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Short summary
We present a new method to quantify NOx emissions and corresponding atmospheric lifetimes from OMI NO2 observations together with ECMWF wind fields without further model input for sources located in polluted background. The derived NOx emissions show generally good agreement with bottom-up inventories for power plants and cities. Global inventory significantly underestimated NOx emissions in Chinese cities, most likely due to uncertainties associated with downscaling approaches.
We present a new method to quantify NOx emissions and corresponding atmospheric lifetimes from...
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