An inversion of NOx and non-methane volatile organic compound (NMVOC) emissions using satellite observations during the KORUS-AQ campaign and implications for surface ozone over East Asia
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An inversion of NOx and non-methane volatile organic compound (NMVOC) emissions using satellite observations during the KORUS-AQ campaign and implications for surface ozone over East Asia

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  • Journal Title:
    Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
  • Description:
    The absence of up-to-date emissions has been a major impediment to accurately simulating aspects of atmospheric chemistry and to precisely quantifying the impact of changes in emissions on air pollution. Hence, a nonlinear joint analytical inversion (Gauss–Newton method) of both volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions is made by exploiting the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite Nadir Mapper (OMPS-NM) formaldehyde (HCHO) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) tropospheric nitrogen dioxide (NO2) columns during the Korea–United States Air Quality (KORUS-AQ) campaign over East Asia in May–June 2016. Effects of the chemical feedback of NOx and VOCs on both NO2 and HCHO are implicitly included by iteratively optimizing the inversion. Emission uncertainties are greatly narrowed (averaging kernels > 0.8, which is the mathematical presentation of the partition of information gained from the satellite observations with respect to the prior knowledge) over medium- to high-emitting areas such as cities and dense vegetation. The prior amount of total NOx emissions is mainly dictated by values reported in the MIX-Asia 2010 inventory. After the inversion we conclude that there is a decline in emissions (before, after, change) for China (87.94±44.09 Gg d−1, 68.00±15.94 Gg d−1, −23 %), North China Plain (NCP) (27.96±13.49 Gg d−1, 19.05±2.50 Gg d−1, −32 %), Pearl River Delta (PRD) (4.23±1.78 Gg d−1, 2.70±0.32 Gg d−1, −36 %), Yangtze River Delta (YRD) (9.84±4.68 Gg d−1, 5.77±0.51 Gg d−1, −41 %), Taiwan (1.26±0.57 Gg d−1, 0.97±0.33 Gg d−1, −23 %), and Malaysia (2.89±2.77 Gg d−1, 2.25±1.34 Gg d−1, −22 %), all of which have effectively implemented various stringent regulations. In contrast, South Korea (2.71±1.34 Gg d−1, 2.95±0.58 Gg d−1, +9 %) and Japan (3.53±1.71 Gg d−1, 3.96±1.04 Gg d−1, +12 %) are experiencing an increase in NOx emissions, potentially due to an increased number of diesel vehicles and new thermal power plants. We revisit the well-documented positive bias (by a factor of 2 to 3) of MEGAN v2.1 (Model of Emissions of Gases and Aerosols from Nature) in terms of biogenic VOC emissions in the tropics. The inversion, however, suggests a larger growth of VOCs (mainly anthropogenic) over NCP (25 %) than previously reported (6 %) relative to 2010. The spatial variation in both the magnitude and sign of NOx and VOC emissions results in nonlinear responses of ozone production and loss. Due to a simultaneous decrease and increase in NOx∕VOC over NCP and YRD, we observe a ∼53 % reduction in the ratio of the chemical loss of NOx (LNOx) to the chemical loss of ROx (RO2+HO2) over the surface transitioning toward NOx-sensitive regimes, which in turn reduces and increases the afternoon chemical loss and production of ozone through NO2+OH (−0.42 ppbv h−1)∕HO2 (and RO2)+NO (+0.31 ppbv h−1). Conversely, a combined decrease in NOx and VOC emissions in Taiwan, Malaysia, and southern China suppresses the formation of ozone. Simulations using the updated emissions indicate increases in maximum daily 8 h average (MDA8) surface ozone over China (0.62 ppbv), NCP (4.56 ppbv), and YRD (5.25 ppbv), suggesting that emission control strategies on VOCs should be prioritized to curb ozone production rates in these regions. Taiwan, Malaysia, and PRD stand out as regions undergoing lower MDA8 ozone levels resulting from the NOx reductions occurring predominantly in NOx-sensitive regimes.
  • Source:
    Atmos. Chem. Phys., 20, 9837–9854, 2020
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