Spatial and Temporal Variability of Atmospheric NO2 and Other Trace Gases and Aerosols Over Eastern US Coastal Regions: Applications to Remote Sensing Observations and Studies of Nitrogen Deposition.

Related Research Areas
Atmospheric Composition
Project Description
Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) plays a key role in tropospheric chemistry. Determining the sources, transport and spatio-temporal variability of NO2 in coastal areas is critical not only for improving modeling and prediction of coastal tropospheric air quality, but also for accurate atmospheric correction of satellite coastal ocean color observations. It is also essential for better understanding and modeling NOx-pollution and related nitrogen deposition in coastal ecosystems. Current satellite observations provide a powerful tool for studying NO2 emissions, distribution and transport over land and the ocean. To enhance the scientific return of satellite remote sensing, obtain a more complete picture of the atmosphere and increase our understanding of the effects of air pollution on coastal ecosystem dynamics, satellite observations must be used in combination with model simulations of nitrogen chemistry, transport and deposition, and detailed ground-based measurements. This becomes extremely challenging in coastal regions, since ground-based stations that monitor tropospheric air quality come to an abrupt end at the coastlines. By using a comprehensive ground-based measurement network, NASA Aura-OMI satellite observations, aircraft measurements and regional photochemical modeling (CMAQ and WRF-Chem), the proposed work will provide new and currently missing information on the amount, vertical distribution, transport, spatial patterns and temporal (seasonal and diel) variability of NO2 and other trace gases near pollution sources and over estuarine and coastal waters in the Chesapeake Bay (CB)/Mid Atlantic Bight (MAB) region. To extend measurements of the spatial and temporal patterns in NO2 (total column and vertical profiles) over coastal areas, we will use a ground-based network of new, accurate, portable, automated and validated NASA spectrometer systems (i.e. Pandora) that can operate both over land and onboard ships. In addition to NO2, the Pandora instruments provide simultaneous measurements of aerosols, O3, SO2 and HCHO that are needed for accurate modeling of tropospheric photochemistry. The spectrometers will be deployed at key locations, including sites monitoring atmospheric deposition (CASTNet/NADP) in the CB watershed, an autonomous surface vessel in the CB estuary, and a ship conducting cruises in the N. Atlantic coastal waters. Measurements will be applied to compare with satellite-observed variability in coastal regions, evaluate assumptions in satellite tropospheric NO2 retrievals, and determine the effect of observed NO2 pollution on top-of-atmosphere reflectances and atmospheric correction for coastal ocean color. Ground-based, aircraft and satellite observations will be used to evaluate air-quality model performance and new emission schemes, and improve model predictions of tropospheric NO2 amounts, distribution, transport and deposition over coastal regions. Our E/PO plan targets several audiences and includes three main components: i) Support for Higher Education and involvement of undergraduate and graduate students (with a focus on minorities) in individual and teamwork research projects so that they develop new skills and gain new knowledge on remote sensing applications and NASAs EOS satellite observations; ii) Outreach for teachers in K-12 education (including minority teachers) and integration of our research project into Teacher Development Workshops, to help teachers incorporate the latest information related to NASA research into their curriculum and at the same time inspire and attract K-12 students in STEM programs through direct interaction in classrooms; iii) Integration of our research with the Coastal Training Program, offered by the MD CB National Estuarine Research Reserve System, to provide up-to-date scientific information related to coastal air pollution, water-quality and space-based remote sensing applications to individuals in coastal resource management, policy and decision making. Project PI: Maria Tzortziou/University of Maryland College Park University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA Phone: (301) 614-6048 Email:
Project Administrator(s):
Cristina Milesi,
Maria Tzortziou


Cristina Milesi
Maria Tzortziou