Articles | Volume 7, issue 12
Research article
03 Dec 2014
Research article |  | 03 Dec 2014

An improved glyoxal retrieval from OMI measurements

L. M. A. Alvarado, A. Richter, M. Vrekoussis, F. Wittrock, A. Hilboll, S. F. Schreier, and J. P. Burrows

Abstract. Satellite observations from the SCIAMACHY, GOME-2 and OMI spectrometers have been used to retrieve atmospheric columns of glyoxal (CHOCHO) with the DOAS method. High CHOCHO levels were found over regions with large biogenic and pyrogenic emissions, and hot-spots have been identified over areas of anthropogenic activities.

This study focuses on the development of an improved retrieval for CHOCHO from measurements by the OMI instrument. From sensitivity tests, a fitting window and a polynomial degree are determined. Two different approaches to reduce the interference of liquid water absorption over oceanic regions are evaluated, achieving significant reduction of the number of negative columns over clear water regions. The impact of using different absorption cross-sections for water vapour is evaluated and only small differences are found. Finally, a high-temperature (boundary layer ambient: 294 K) absorption cross-section of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is introduced in the DOAS retrieval to account for potential interferences of NO2 over regions with large anthropogenic emissions, leading to improved fit quality over these areas. A comparison with vertical CHOCHO columns retrieved from GOME-2 and SCIAMACHY measurements over continental regions is performed, showing overall good consistency. However, SCIAMACHY CHOCHO columns are systematically higher than those obtained from the other instruments.

Using the new OMI CHOCHO data set, the link between fires and glyoxal columns is investigated for two selected regions in Africa. In addition, mapped averages are computed for a fire event in Russia between mid-July and mid-August 2010. In both cases, enhanced CHOCHO levels are found in close spatial and temporal proximity to elevated levels of MODIS fire radiative power, demonstrating that pyrogenic emissions can be clearly identified in the new OMI CHOCHO product.

Short summary
An improved glyoxal retrieval for OMI measurements using the DOAS method has been developed. The retrieval is based on sensitivity tests for the selection of most appropriate retrieval parameters. Also, corrections for reduction of interferences with other species have been applied. In addition, the link between pyrogenic emissions and glyoxal over regions with large wildfires have been investigated, and showed that fires are an important source of glyoxal.