Validation of SCIAMACHY limb NO2 profiles using solar occultation measurements
Abstract. The increasing amounts of reactive nitrogen in the stratosphere necessitate accurate global measurements of stratospheric nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Over the past decade, the SCIAMACHY (SCanning Imaging Absorption spectroMeter for Atmospheric CHartographY) instrument on ENVISAT (European Environmental Satellite) has been providing global coverage of stratospheric NO2 every 6 days. In this study, the vertical distributions of NO2 retrieved from SCIAMACHY limb measurements of the scattered solar light are validated by comparison with NO2 products from three different satellite instruments (SAGE II, HALOE and ACE-FTS). The retrieval algorithm based on the information operator approach is discussed, and the sensitivity of the SCIAMACHY NO2 limb retrievals is investigated. The photochemical corrections needed to make this validation feasible, and the chosen collocation criteria are described. For each instrument, a time period of two years is analyzed with several hundreds of collocation pairs for each year. As NO2 is highly variable, the comparisons are performed for five latitudinal bins and four seasons. In the 20 to 40 km altitude range, mean relative differences between SCIAMACHY and other instruments are found to be typically within 20 to 30%. The mean partial NO2 columns in this altitude range agree typically within 15% (both global monthly and zonal annual means). Larger differences are seen for SAGE II comparisons, which is consistent with the results presented by other authors. For SAGE II and ACE-FTS, the observed differences can be partially attributed to the diurnal effect error.