Articles | Volume 9, issue 14
Special issue:
22 Jul 2009
 | 22 Jul 2009

Detection of pollution transport events southeast of Mexico City using ground-based visible spectroscopy measurements of nitrogen dioxide

M. L. Melamed, R. Basaldud, R. Steinbrecher, S. Emeis, L. G. Ruíz-Suárez, and M. Grutter

Abstract. This work presents ground based differential optical absorption spectroscopy (DOAS) measurements of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) during the MILAGRO field campaign in March 2006 at the Tenango del Aire research site located to the southeast of Mexico City. The DOAS NO2 column density measurements are used in conjunction with ceilometer, meteorological and surface nitric oxide (NO), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and total reactive nitrogen (NOy) measurements to analyze pollution transport events to the southeast of Mexico City during the MILARGO field campaign. The study divides the data set into three case study pollution transport events that occurred at the Tenango del Aire research site. The unique data set is then used to provide an in depth analysis of example days of each of the pollution transport events. An in depth analysis of 13 March 2006, a Case One day, shows the transport of several air pollution plumes during the morning through the Tenango del Aire research site when southerly winds are present and demonstrates how DOAS tropospheric NO2 vertical column densities (VCD), surface NO2 mixing ratios and ceilometer data are used to determine the vertical homogeneity of the pollution layer. The analysis of 18 March 2006, a Case Two day, shows that when northerly winds are present for the entire day, the air at the Tenango del Aire research site is relatively clean and no major pollution plumes are detected. Case 3 days are characterized by relatively clean air throughout the morning with large DOAS NO2 enhancements detected in the afternoon. The analysis of 28 March 2006 show the DOAS NO2 enhancements are likely due to lightning activity and demonstrate how suitable ground-based DOAS measruements are for monitoring anthropogenic and natural pollution sources that reside above the mixing layer.

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