Detection of Temporal and Spatial Distributions of Atmospheric Nitric Acid Based on Ground-Based High-Resolution Solar Absorption Spectra

ZHANG Huifang1,2 WANG Wei2 LIU Cheng3 SHAN Changgong2 HU Qihou2 SUN Youwen2 Nicholas Jones4

(1.Institutes of Physical Science and Information Technology, Anhui University, Hefei, Anhui, China 230601)
(2.Key Laboratory of Environmental Optics and Technology, Anhui Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics, Hefei Institutes of Physical Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Hefei, Anhui, China 230031)
(3.School of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, Anhui, China 230026)
(4.School of Chemistry, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales 2522, Australia)

【Abstract】In this study, the high-resolution Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) is used to detect the concentrations of nitric acid (HNO3) in the atmosphere above the Hefei site. The vertical profiles and total columns of HNO3 are retrieved from the mid-infrared solar absorption spectra using the optimal estimation method. The vertical profiles and time series of the total columns of atmospheric HNO3 are obtained over the entire year of 2017. Further, the characteristics of the seasonal variation of HNO3, sensitivity altitude of concentration detection, averaging kernels of retrieved profiles, and degrees of freedom are analyzed. The vertical profiles of atmospheric HNO3 in different seasons denote that the HNO3 concentrations are higher at an altitude of 20–30 km in the stratosphere and that they are lower in the troposphere. Furthermore, the total columns of HNO3 exhibit obvious seasonal variations, with a maximum in spring and minimum in winter. The amplitude of the seasonal variations is 9.82 × 1015 molecule/cm2. The data products obtained from the Aura MLS satellite are selected for performing a comparison with the ground-based data to validate the measurements of the ground-based FTIR using independent data. The comparison results denote that the ground-based remote sensing and satellite observations display a consistent seasonal HNO3 variability. The ground-based data exhibit a good agreement with the satellite data with a high correlation coefficient of 0.83 even though the partial columns of the satellite data are lower than the corresponding ground-based total columns. The observation results indicate the reliability and accuracy of the ground-based FTIR for observing the temporal and spatial distributions of the atmospheric HNO3.

【Keywords】 atmospheric optics; Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy; nitric acid; vertical profile; total column;


【Funds】 National Natural Science Foundation of China (41775025, 41405134, 41575021, 91544212, 41605018, 41877309) National Key Research and Development program (2018YFC0213201, 2016YFC0200404, 2016YFC0203302, 2017YFC0210002, 2016YFC0200800) Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province (2016A030310117) National Major Science and Technology Project of High-resolution Earth Observation (05-Y30B01-9001-19/20-3)

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(Translated by CHENG H)


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This Article


CN: 31-1252/O4

Vol 40, No. 02, Pages 23-33

January 2020


Article Outline


  • 1 Introduction
  • 2 Observation methods
  • 3 Results and discussion
  • 4 Conclusion
  • References