Articles | Volume 10, issue 1
Research article
09 Jan 2017
Research article |  | 09 Jan 2017

Sulfur dioxide retrievals from TROPOMI onboard Sentinel-5 Precursor: algorithm theoretical basis

Nicolas Theys, Isabelle De Smedt, Huan Yu, Thomas Danckaert, Jeroen van Gent, Christoph Hörmann, Thomas Wagner, Pascal Hedelt, Heiko Bauer, Fabian Romahn, Mattia Pedergnana, Diego Loyola, and Michel Van Roozendael

Abstract. The TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) onboard the Copernicus Sentinel-5 Precursor (S-5P) platform will measure ultraviolet earthshine radiances at high spectral and improved spatial resolution (pixel size of 7 km  ×  3.5 km at nadir) compared to its predecessors OMI and GOME-2. This paper presents the sulfur dioxide (SO2) vertical column retrieval algorithm implemented in the S-5P operational processor UPAS (Universal Processor for UV/VIS Atmospheric Spectrometers) and comprehensively describes its various retrieval steps. The spectral fitting is performed using the differential optical absorption spectroscopy (DOAS) method including multiple fitting windows to cope with the large range of atmospheric SO2 columns encountered. It is followed by a slant column background correction scheme to reduce possible biases or across-track-dependent artifacts in the data. The SO2 vertical columns are obtained by applying air mass factors (AMFs) calculated for a set of representative a priori profiles and accounting for various parameters influencing the retrieval sensitivity to SO2. Finally, the algorithm includes an error analysis module which is fully described here. We also discuss verification results (as part of the algorithm development) and future validation needs of the TROPOMI SO2 algorithm.

Short summary
This paper provides a thorough description of the algorithm to retrieve SO2 columns from TROPOMI/Sentinel-5 Precursor measurements. The different algorithmic steps including error analysis are detailed. Scientific verification of the algorithm and validation needs are also discussed.