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MAX-DOAS measurements of aerosol, HCHO, and NO2 over Los Angeles from an elevated mountaintop site.


MAX-DOAS measurements of aerosol, HCHO, and NO2 over Los Angeles from an elevated mountaintop site.


Ross Cheung

Doctor of Philosophy in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences

University of California, Los Angeles, 2016

Professor Jochen Stutz, Chair

Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy (DOAS) has become a popular technique for measuring atmospheric trace gases using UV/Vis narrow-band absorption features along a light path through the atmosphere. The UCLA Multi-Axis DOAS instrument (MAX-DOAS) is a ground-based spectrometer currently located at Mt. Wilson, California (1700 meters above sea level) that measures solar scattered light at various viewing elevation angles. Since May of 2010, it has been taking regular measurements of atmospheric pollutants in the boundary layer of the atmosphere in and above the Los Angeles Basin.

This thesis presents the experimental setup and spectral retrievals, as well as results of our observations of measurements of NO2 and HCHO from Mt. Wilson. Radiative transfer modeling efforts of the deployment at Mt. Wilson will be presented, as well as our efforts to model and account for the effects of clouds and aerosols on MAX-DOAS measurements. Because of the unique challenges presented by aerosols in the ultraviolet and visible light region in a polluted urban boundary layer, new techniques were developed to account for and quantify these effects.

Observations of path-integrated NO2 and HCHO, some of the primary precursors to ozone formation in the lower troposphere, as well as aerosol extinctions using the UCLA MAX-DOAS will be presented, and the advantages of a mountaintop measurement strategy will be discussed in light of the amount of vertical information that can be retrieved from this approach. The techniques developed to improve the optimal estimation of vertical aerosol extinction profiles and trace gas concentration profiles will be discussed. Finally, an application of these observations uses the ratio of HCHO/NO2 to study the dependency of ozone formation on nitrogen oxides and VOCs will be presented.

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