Articles | Volume 8, issue 4
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 8, 1733–1756, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-8-1733-2015
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 8, 1733–1756, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-8-1733-2015

Research article 15 Apr 2015

Research article | 15 Apr 2015

Retrievals of formaldehyde from ground-based FTIR and MAX-DOAS observations at the Jungfraujoch station and comparisons with GEOS-Chem and IMAGES model simulations

B. Franco1, F. Hendrick2, M. Van Roozendael2, J.-F. Müller2, T. Stavrakou2, E. A. Marais3, B. Bovy1, W. Bader1, C. Fayt2, C. Hermans2, B. Lejeune1, G. Pinardi2, C. Servais1, and E. Mahieu1 B. Franco et al.
  • 1Institute of Astrophysics and Geophysics of the University of Liège, Liège, Belgium
  • 2Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB), Brussels, Belgium
  • 3School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA

Abstract. As an ubiquitous product of the oxidation of many volatile organic compounds (VOCs), formaldehyde (HCHO) plays a key role as a short-lived and reactive intermediate in the atmospheric photo-oxidation pathways leading to the formation of tropospheric ozone and secondary organic aerosols. In this study, HCHO profiles have been successfully retrieved from ground-based Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) solar spectra and UV-visible Multi-AXis Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy (MAX-DOAS) scans recorded during the July 2010–December 2012 time period at the Jungfraujoch station (Swiss Alps, 46.5° N, 8.0° E, 3580 m a.s.l.). Analysis of the retrieved products has revealed different vertical sensitivity between both remote sensing techniques. Furthermore, HCHO amounts simulated by two state-of-the-art chemical transport models (CTMs), GEOS-Chem and IMAGES v2, have been compared to FTIR total columns and MAX-DOAS 3.6–8 km partial columns, accounting for the respective vertical resolution of each ground-based instrument. Using the CTM outputs as the intermediate, FTIR and MAX-DOAS retrievals have shown consistent seasonal modulations of HCHO throughout the investigated period, characterized by summertime maximum and wintertime minimum. Such comparisons have also highlighted that FTIR and MAX-DOAS provide complementary products for the HCHO retrieval above the Jungfraujoch station. Finally, tests have revealed that the updated IR parameters from the HITRAN 2012 database have a cumulative effect and significantly decrease the retrieved HCHO columns with respect to the use of the HITRAN 2008 compilation.

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Short summary
Formaldehyde (HCHO) amounts are obtained from ground-based Fourier transform infrared solar spectra and UV-visible Multi-AXis Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy (MAX-DOAS) scans recorded at the Jungfraujoch station (46.5°N, 8.0°E, 3580m a.s.l.). Using HCHO amounts simulated by the chemical transport models GEOS-Chem and IMAGES as intermediates, comparisons reveal that FTIR and MAX-DOAS provide complementary products for the HCHO retrieval.