Articles | Volume 6, issue 1
20 Jan 2006
20 Jan 2006

Intercomparison exercise between different radiative transfer models used for the interpretation of ground-based zenith-sky and multi-axis DOAS observations

F. Hendrick, M. Van Roozendael, A. Kylling, A. Petritoli, A. Rozanov, S. Sanghavi, R. Schofield, C. von Friedeburg, T. Wagner, F. Wittrock, D. Fonteyn, and M. De Mazière

Abstract. We present the results of an intercomparison exercise between six different radiative transfer (RT) models carried out in the framework of QUILT, an EU funded project based on the exploitation of the Network for the Detection of Stratospheric Change (NDSC). RT modelling is an important step in the interpretation of Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy (DOAS) observations. It allows the conversion of slant column densities (SCDs) into vertical column densities (VCDs) using calculated air mass factors (AMFs). The originality of our study resides in comparing SCD simulations in multi-axis (MAX) geometry (trace gases: NO2 and HCHO) and in taking into account photochemical enhancement for calculating SCDs of rapidly photolysing species (BrO, NO2, and OClO) in zenith-sky geometry. Concerning the zenith-sky simulations, the different models agree generally well, especially below 90° SZA. At higher SZA, larger discrepancies are obtained with relative differences ranging between 2% and 14% in some cases. In MAX geometry, good agreement is found between the models with the calculated NO2 and HCHO SCDs differing by no more than 5% in the elevation and solar zenith angle (SZA) ranges investigated (5°–20° and 35°–85°, respectively). The impacts of aerosol scattering, ground albedo, and relative azimuth on MAX simulations have also been tested. Significant discrepancies appear for the aerosol effect, suggesting differences between models in the treatment of aerosol scattering. A better agreement is found in case of the ground albedo and relative azimuth effects. The complete set of initialization data and results have been made publicly available through the QUILT project web site (, enabling the testing of other RT codes designed for the calculation of SCDs/AMFs.

Final-revised paper