HCOOH distributions from IASI for 2008-2014: comparison with ground-based FTIR measurements and a global chemistry-transport model

Abstract : Formic acid (HCOOH) is one of the most abundant volatile organic compounds in the atmosphere. It is a major contributor to rain acidity in remote areas. There are however large uncertainties on its sources and sinks, and HCOOH is misrepresented by global chemistry-transport models. This work presents global distributions from 2008 to 2014 as derived from the measurements of the Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI), based on conversion factors between brightness temperature differences and representative retrieved total columns over seven regions: Africa N, Africa S, Amazonia, Atlantic, Australia, Pacific and Russia. The dependence of the thermal contrast is taking account in the conversion method. This conversion presents errors lower than 20 % for total columns ranging between 0.5 and 1 × 1016 molec/cm2 but reaches higher values, up to 78 %, for columns lower than 0.3 × 1016 molec/cm2. Signatures from biomass burning events are highlighted, such as in the Southern Hemisphere and in Russia, as well as biogenic emission sources, e.g. over Eastern US. A comparison between 2008 and 2014 with ground-based FTIR measurements obtained at 4 locations (Maido and Saint-Denis at La Réunion, Jungfraujoch and Wollongong) is shown. Although IASI columns are found to correlate well with FTIR data, a large bias (> 100 %) is found over the two sites at La Réunion. A better agreement is found at Wollongong with a negligible bias. The comparison also highlights the difficulty for IASI to retrieve the total columns over mountainous regions such as Jungfraujoch. A comparison of the retrieved columns with the global chemistry-transport model IMAGESv2 is also presented, showing the good representation of the seasonal and inter-annual cycles over America, Australia, Asia and Siberia. A global model underestimation of the distribution and a misrepresentation of the seasonal cycle over India are also noted. A small positive trend in the IASI columns is also observed over Australia, Amazonia and India over 2008–2014 (from 0.7 to 1.5 %/year), while a decrease of ~ 0.8 %/year is measured over Siberia.
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Matthieu Pommier, Cathy Clerbaux, Pierre-François Coheur, Emmanuel Mahieu, Jean-François Müller, et al.. HCOOH distributions from IASI for 2008-2014: comparison with ground-based FTIR measurements and a global chemistry-transport model. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, European Geosciences Union, 2016, 16 (14), pp.8963-8981. ⟨10.5194/acp-16-8963-2016⟩. ⟨insu-01280726⟩

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