NO2 Vertical Profiles Retrieved from Ground-Based Measurements During Spring 1999 in the Canadian Arctic

Published In: Advances in Space Research, v. 34, no. 4, 2004, p. 786-792

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2004

by Stella M. L. Melo, Elham E. Farahani, Kimberly Strong, Matt Bassford, K. E. Preston, Chris A. McLinden

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During the 1990s, Arctic stratospheric temperatures were lower and the breakup of the Arctic vortex occurred later than has been observed in earlier decades. These cold winters have been followed by significant ozone loss. A clear identification of all the processes involved in springtime Arctic ozone depletion is complicated by the strong coupling between transport, formation of solid and liquid aerosols, and halogen activation. One of the key chemical species in the photochemistry of ozone is NO2. As the role of NO2 is strongly dependent on altitude, it is desirable to know not only the NO2 total column, but also its vertical distribution. We have a portable UV–Vis grating spectrometer that was deployed at Eureka, Canada (80.1°N, 86.4°W) in spring 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2003, and at Resolute Bay, Canada (74.7°N, 94.6°W) in spring 2002. Eureka is part of the Arctic primary station of the Network for the Detection of Stratospheric Change. Among other species, the spectrometer measures stratospheric NO2 through observation of sunlight scattered from the zenith sky during twilight. Due to the scattering geometry, the NO2 slant column increases with solar zenith angle (SZA), making it possible to retrieve information about the vertical distribution of NO2 from the observed slant column variation with SZA. In this paper, we use the optimal estimation technique with a formal characterization of the errors to retrieve NO2 concentration profiles from slant column observations made at Eureka during March and April 1999. Such measurements can also be used in the validation of NO2 profile measurements made by satellite instruments.

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