Retrieval of trace gases vertical profile in the lower atmosphere combining. Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy with radiative transfer models

Palazzi, Elisa (2008) Retrieval of trace gases vertical profile in the lower atmosphere combining. Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy with radiative transfer models, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Modellistica fisica per la protezione dell'ambiente, 20 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/983.
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The motivation for the work presented in this thesis is to retrieve profile information for the atmospheric trace constituents nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and ozone (O3) in the lower troposphere from remote sensing measurements. The remote sensing technique used, referred to as Multiple AXis Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy (MAX-DOAS), is a recent technique that represents a significant advance on the well-established DOAS, especially for what it concerns the study of tropospheric trace consituents. NO2 is an important trace gas in the lower troposphere due to the fact that it is involved in the production of tropospheric ozone; ozone and nitrogen dioxide are key factors in determining the quality of air with consequences, for example, on human health and the growth of vegetation. To understand the NO2 and ozone chemistry in more detail not only the concentrations at ground but also the acquisition of the vertical distribution is necessary. In fact, the budget of nitrogen oxides and ozone in the atmosphere is determined both by local emissions and non-local chemical and dynamical processes (i.e. diffusion and transport at various scales) that greatly impact on their vertical and temporal distribution: thus a tool to resolve the vertical profile information is really important. Useful measurement techniques for atmospheric trace species should fulfill at least two main requirements. First, they must be sufficiently sensitive to detect the species under consideration at their ambient concentration levels. Second, they must be specific, which means that the results of the measurement of a particular species must be neither positively nor negatively influenced by any other trace species simultaneously present in the probed volume of air. Air monitoring by spectroscopic techniques has proven to be a very useful tool to fulfill these desirable requirements as well as a number of other important properties. During the last decades, many such instruments have been developed which are based on the absorption properties of the constituents in various regions of the electromagnetic spectrum, ranging from the far infrared to the ultraviolet. Among them, Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy (DOAS) has played an important role. DOAS is an established remote sensing technique for atmospheric trace gases probing, which identifies and quantifies the trace gases in the atmosphere taking advantage of their molecular absorption structures in the near UV and visible wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum (from 0.25 μm to 0.75 μm). Passive DOAS, in particular, can detect the presence of a trace gas in terms of its integrated concentration over the atmospheric path from the sun to the receiver (the so called slant column density). The receiver can be located at ground, as well as on board an aircraft or a satellite platform. Passive DOAS has, therefore, a flexible measurement configuration that allows multiple applications. The ability to properly interpret passive DOAS measurements of atmospheric constituents depends crucially on how well the optical path of light collected by the system is understood. This is because the final product of DOAS is the concentration of a particular species integrated along the path that radiation covers in the atmosphere. This path is not known a priori and can only be evaluated by Radiative Transfer Models (RTMs). These models are used to calculate the so called vertical column density of a given trace gas, which is obtained by dividing the measured slant column density to the so called air mass factor, which is used to quantify the enhancement of the light path length within the absorber layers. In the case of the standard DOAS set-up, in which radiation is collected along the vertical direction (zenith-sky DOAS), calculations of the air mass factor have been made using “simple” single scattering radiative transfer models. This configuration has its highest sensitivity in the stratosphere, in particular during twilight. This is the result of the large enhancement in stratospheric light path at dawn and dusk combined with a relatively short tropospheric path. In order to increase the sensitivity of the instrument towards tropospheric signals, measurements with the telescope pointing the horizon (offaxis DOAS) have to be performed. In this circumstances, the light path in the lower layers can become very long and necessitate the use of radiative transfer models including multiple scattering, the full treatment of atmospheric sphericity and refraction. In this thesis, a recent development in the well-established DOAS technique is described, referred to as Multiple AXis Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy (MAX-DOAS). The MAX-DOAS consists in the simultaneous use of several off-axis directions near the horizon: using this configuration, not only the sensitivity to tropospheric trace gases is greatly improved, but vertical profile information can also be retrieved by combining the simultaneous off-axis measurements with sophisticated RTM calculations and inversion techniques. In particular there is a need for a RTM which is capable of dealing with all the processes intervening along the light path, supporting all DOAS geometries used, and treating multiple scattering events with varying phase functions involved. To achieve these multiple goals a statistical approach based on the Monte Carlo technique should be used. A Monte Carlo RTM generates an ensemble of random photon paths between the light source and the detector, and uses these paths to reconstruct a remote sensing measurement. Within the present study, the Monte Carlo radiative transfer model PROMSAR (PROcessing of Multi-Scattered Atmospheric Radiation) has been developed and used to correctly interpret the slant column densities obtained from MAX-DOAS measurements. In order to derive the vertical concentration profile of a trace gas from its slant column measurement, the AMF is only one part in the quantitative retrieval process. One indispensable requirement is a robust approach to invert the measurements and obtain the unknown concentrations, the air mass factors being known. For this purpose, in the present thesis, we have used the Chahine relaxation method. Ground-based Multiple AXis DOAS, combined with appropriate radiative transfer models and inversion techniques, is a promising tool for atmospheric studies in the lower troposphere and boundary layer, including the retrieval of profile information with a good degree of vertical resolution. This thesis has presented an application of this powerful comprehensive tool for the study of a preserved natural Mediterranean area (the Castel Porziano Estate, located 20 km South-West of Rome) where pollution is transported from remote sources. Application of this tool in densely populated or industrial areas is beginning to look particularly fruitful and represents an important subject for future studies.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Palazzi, Elisa
Dottorato di ricerca
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
doas trasferimento radiativo monte carlo metodi di inversione
Data di discussione
27 Giugno 2008

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