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Direct retrieval of isoprene from satellite-based infrared measurements.


Isoprene is the atmosphere's most important non-methane organic compound, with key impacts on atmospheric oxidation, ozone, and organic aerosols. In-situ isoprene measurements are sparse, and satellite-based constraints have employed an indirect approach using its oxidation product formaldehyde, which is affected by non-isoprene sources plus uncertainty and spatial smearing in the isoprene-formaldehyde relationship. Direct global isoprene measurements are therefore needed to better understand its sources, sinks, and atmospheric impacts. Here we show that the isoprene spectral signatures are detectable from space using the satellite-borne Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS), develop a full-physics retrieval methodology for quantifying isoprene abundances from these spectral features, and apply the algorithm to CrIS measurements over Amazonia. The results are consistent with model output and in-situ data, and establish the feasibility of direct global space-based isoprene measurements. Finally, we demonstrate the potential for combining space-based measurements of isoprene and formaldehyde to constrain atmospheric oxidation over isoprene source regions.

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