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    Atmospheric and hydrospheric sciences


    Surface and Aloft NO2 pollution over the greater Tokyo area observed by ground-based and MAX-DOAS measurements bridged by kilometer-scale regional air quality modeling

    Itahashi S, Irie H

    Nitrogen dioxide, AEROS, MAX-DOAS, air quality model, high-resolution modeling, planetary boundary layer, Chiba-Campaign 2015

    Correspondence between period (9-23 November 2015) averaged modeled surface and aloft (averaged over 0-1 km) NO2 concentration.

    To advance our understanding of surface and aloft nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution, this study extensively evaluated NO2 concentrations simulated by the regional air quality modeling system with a 1.3 km horizontal grid resolution using the Atmospheric Environmental Regional Observation System ground-based observation network and aloft measurements by multi-axis differential optical absorption spectroscopy (MAX-DOAS) over the greater Tokyo area. Observations are usually limited to the surface level, and gaps remain in our understanding of the behavior of air pollutants above the near-surface layer, particularly within the planetary boundary layer (PBL). Therefore, MAX-DOAS measurement was used, which observes scattered sunlight in the ultraviolet/visible range at several elevation angles between the horizon and zenith to determine the aloft NO2 pollution averaged over 0–1 km. In total, four MAX-DOAS measurement systems at Chiba University (35.63°N, 140.10°E) systematically covered the north, east, west, and south directions to capture the aloft NO2 pollution over the greater Tokyo area. The target period was Chiba-Campaign 2015 conducted during 9–23 November 2015. The evaluations showed that the air quality modeling system can generally capture the observed behavior of both surface and aloft NO2 pollution in terms of spatial and temporal coverage. The diurnal variation, which typically showed an increase from evening to early morning without daylight and a decrease during the daytime, was also captured by the model. During Chiba-Campaign 2015, two cases of episodic higher NO2 concentration were identified: one during the nighttime and another during the daytime as different diurnal patterns. These were related to a stagnant wind field, with the latter also connected to a lower PBL height in cloudy conditions. Comparison of the modeled daily-averaged surface and aloft NO2 concentrations showed that aloft NO2 concentration exhibited a strong linear correlation with surface NO2 concentration, with the aloft (0–1 km) value scaled to 0.4–0.5-fold the surface value, irrespective of whether the day was clean or polluted. This scaling value was lower during the nighttime and higher during the daytime. Based on this synergetic analysis of surface and aloft observation bridged by a kilometer-scale fine-resolution modeling simulation, this study contributes to fostering understanding of aloft NO2 pollution.