Articles | Volume 19, issue 13
Research article
12 Jul 2019
Research article |  | 12 Jul 2019

Using satellite observations of tropospheric NO2 columns to infer long-term trends in US NOx emissions: the importance of accounting for the free tropospheric NO2 background

Rachel F. Silvern, Daniel J. Jacob, Loretta J. Mickley, Melissa P. Sulprizio, Katherine R. Travis, Eloise A. Marais, Ronald C. Cohen, Joshua L. Laughner, Sungyeon Choi, Joanna Joiner, and Lok N. Lamsal


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Short summary
The US EPA reports a steady decrease in nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from fuel combustion over the 2005–2017 period, while satellite observations show a leveling off after 2009, suggesting emission reductions and related air quality gains have halted. We show the sustained decrease in NOx emissions is in fact consistent with observed trends in surface NO2 and ozone concentrations and that the flattening of the satellite trend reflects a growing influence from the non-anthropogenic background.
Final-revised paper