Quantifying burning efficiency in megacities using the NO2ĝ•CO ratio from the Tropospheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI)

Srijana Lama*, Sander Houweling, K. Folkert Boersma, Henk Eskes, Ilse Aben, Hugo A. C. Denier Van Der Gon, Maarten C. Krol, Han Dolman, Tobias Borsdorff, Alba Lorente

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This study investigates the use of co-located nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and carbon monoxide (CO) retrievals from the TROPOMI satellite to improve the quantification of burning efficiency and emission factors (EFs) over the megacities of Tehran, Mexico City, Cairo, Riyadh, Lahore, and Los Angeles. Efficient combustion is characterized by high NOx (NOCNO2) and low CO emissions, making the NO2=CO ratio a useful proxy for combustion efficiency (CE). The local enhancement of CO and NO2 above megacities is well captured by TROPOMI at short averaging times compared with previous satellite missions. In this study, the upwind background and plume rotation methods are used to investigate the accuracy of satellitederived 1NO2=1CO ratios. The column enhancement ratios derived using these two methods vary by 5% to 20% across the selected megacities. TROPOMI-derived column enhancement ratios are compared with emission ratios from the EDGAR v4.3.2 (Emission Database for Global Atmospheric Research v4.3.2) and the MACCity (Monitoring Atmospheric Chemistry and Climate and CityZen) 2018 emission inventories. TROPOMI correlates strongly (r D 0:85 and 0.7) with EDGAR and MACCity, showing the highest emission ratio for Riyadh and lowest emission ratio for Lahore. However, inventory-derived emission ratios are 60% to 85% higher than TROPOMI column enhancement ratios across the six megacities. The short lifetime of NO2 and the different vertical sensitivity of TROPOMI NO2 and CO explain most of this difference. We present a method to translate TROPOMI-retrieved column enhancement ratios into corresponding emission ratios, thereby accounting for these influences. Except for Los Angeles and Lahore, TROPOMI-derived emission ratios are close (within 10% to 25 %) to MACCity values. For EDGAR, however, emission ratios are 65% higher for Cairo and 35% higher for Riyadh. For Los Angeles, EDGAR and MACCity are a factor of 2 and 3 higher than TROPOMI respectively. The air quality monitoring networks in Los Angeles and Mexico City are used to validate the use of TROPOMI. For Mexico City and Los Angeles, these measurements are consistent with TROPOMI-derived emission ratios, demonstrating the potential of TROPOMI with respect to monitoring burning efficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10295-10310
Number of pages16
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 4 Sept 2020


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