Urban Air Pollution

Over half of the world’s population lives in urban areas. These regions are hotspots of gaseous and particulate pollutants that have immediate effects on air quality and human health and long term effects on atmospheric composition and climate. We focus on quantifying the mostly anthropogenic emissions of trace gases such as nitrogen dioxide, formaldehyde and glyoxal, then leverage those measurements to understand the role of trace gases in the formation of smog components such as O3 and secondary organic aerosol (SOA). 

The influence of wildfires and industrial influences on urban air quality require better means to quantify emissions. We use a combination of passive and active remote sensing in combination with in-situ measurements to study emissions from area sources by mass balance, and evaluate the use of satellites to inform about surface air quality. 

Field campaigns related to urban air pollution include: CALNEX-2010, CARES-2010, TCAP-2012, FRAPPÉ-2014, CUPiDS-2023, Front Range and USOS-2024.

Relevant publications:

Bela et al.: Quantifying Carbon Monoxide Emissions on the Scale of Large WildfiresGeophys. Res. Lett, 49, e2021GL095831, doi:10.1029/2021GL095831, 2022.

Rowe et al.: Carbon Monoxide in Optically Thick Wildfire Smoke: Evaluating TROPOMI Using CU Airborne SOF Column ObservationsACS Earth and Space Chemistry, 6, 7, 1799–1812, doi:10.1021/acsearthspacechem.2c00048, 2022.

Kille et al.: Separation of methane emissions from agricultural and natural gas sources in the Colorado Front RangeGeophys. Res. Lett., 46, 3990-3998, doi:10.1029/2019GL082132, 2019.

Kille et al.: The CU Mobile Solar Occultation Flux Instrument: structure functions and emission rates of NH3, NO2 and C2H6Atmos. Meas. Techn., 10, 363-392, doi:10.5194/amt-10-373-2017, 2017.

Baidar et al.: Weakening of the Weekend Ozone Effect over California's South Coast Air BasinGeophys. Res. Lett., 42 (21), 9457-9464, doi:10.1002/2015GL066419, 2015.