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Glyoxal and formaldehyde from space: tracing pollution and biogenic emissions over the greater Mediterranean Region


The fate of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) emissions is of great scientific interest because VOC are related to photochemical smog, ozone (O3) production or destruction and secondary aerosol (SOA) formation impacting thus on the quality of life and human health. Most of the VOC detected in Earths atmosphere are of biogenic origin (almost 90%) while the remaining 10% comes from anthropogenic sources. To evaluate the impact of VOC, the understanding of the associated physical and chemical processes is neede d and this requires the study of the temporal and spatial distribution of VOC. Such a study is impeded by the great number of compounds emitted to the atmosphere and the difficulty of simultaneous measurements of them. To overcome this difficulty focus on VOC tracers, such as the Formaldehyde (HCHO) and the dialdehyde Glyoxal (CHOCHO), is an alternative solution. With the general objective of evaluating the role of VOCs in O3 and aerosol formation, the proposed work follows a multidisciplinary approach base d on satellite retrievals, ground-based profile and column measurements and chemistry- transport modeling: Spectra obtained by the GOME and SCIAMACHY satellite-based instruments will be used to retrieve information on the spatial and temporal variability o f CHOCHO and HCHO, globally and over Europe and the greater Mediterranean region. Profiles and vertical-columns of both species will be measured by a ground-based maxDOAS. The observations of CHOCHO and HCHO will be complemented by satellite data on carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, O3 and aerosol optical depth. The satellite retrievals will be compared with ground-based measurements and analyzed with stateof-the-art 0-D and 3-D chemistry-transport models. Such synergistic study will be con ducted for the first time to our knowledge and will contribute to the understanding of the role of VOCs in O3 and SOA formation over Europe and the broader Mediterranean region.

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