13 Feb 2024
 | 13 Feb 2024

Estimating NOx emissions of stack plumes using a high-resolution atmospheric chemistry model and satellite-derived NO2 columns

Maarten Krol, Bart van Stratum, Isidora Anglou, and Klaas Folkert Boersma

Abstract. This work contributes to an European Monitoring and Verification Support (MVS) capacity for anthropogenic CO2 emissions. Future satellite instruments that map CO2 and NO2 from space will focus on hot-spot emissions from cities and large point sources, where CO2 emissions are accompanied by emissions of NOx. To use NOx as proxy CO2 emission, information about its atmospheric lifetime and the fraction of NOx present as NO2 is required to interpret NO2 plumes. This paper presents Large Eddy Simulations with atmospheric chemistry of four large point sources world-wide. We find that the chemical evolution of the plumes depends strongly on the amount of NOx that is emitted, next to wind speed and direction. For large NOx emissions the chemistry is pushed in a high-NOx chemical regime over a length of almost 100 km downwind of the stack location. Other plumes with lower NOx emissions show a fast transition to an intermediate NOx chemical regime, with short NOx lifetimes. Simulated NO2 columns mostly agree within 20 % with the TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI), signalling that the emissions used in the model were approximately correct. However, variability in the simulations is large, making a one-to-one comparison difficult. We find that wind speed variations should be accounted for in emission estimation methods. Moreover, results indicate that common assumptions about the NO2 lifetime (≈4 hours) and NOx: NO2 ratios (≈1.3) in simplified methods that estimate emissions from NO2 satellite data (e.g. Beirle et al., 2019) need revision.

Maarten Krol, Bart van Stratum, Isidora Anglou, and Klaas Folkert Boersma

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2519', Anonymous Referee #2, 15 Mar 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2519', Anonymous Referee #3, 01 Apr 2024
Maarten Krol, Bart van Stratum, Isidora Anglou, and Klaas Folkert Boersma

Interactive computing environment

Code, input, output, and analysis software of the CoCO2 paper, submitted to Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Maarten Krol

Maarten Krol, Bart van Stratum, Isidora Anglou, and Klaas Folkert Boersma


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Short summary
This paper presents detailed plume simulations of nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide that are emitted from four large industrial facilities world-wide. Results from the high-resolution simulations that include atmospheric chemistry are compared to nitrogen-dioxide observations from satellites. We find good performance of the model and show that common assumptions that are used in simplified models need revision. This work is important for the monitoring of emissions using satellite data.