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Background

As human exposure and the associated health effects in hot spot areas are particularly affected by pollutants that have a strong local character and that exhibit strong concentration gradients at relatively small scales, such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2), there is a strong need for high-resolution operational NO2 exposure models. The RIO-IFDM modeling tool available at the start of this project, seemed to perform moderately with regard to high-resolution spatial patterns. At the time, it could still be improved and needed to be validated extensively. Until then, no suitable observations with high spatial resolution were available to validate the RIO-IFDM model. The validation of the RIO-IFDM model with the spatial urban patterns of NO2 concentrations derived from APEX measurements above Brussels, Antwerp and Liege is unique in the sense that before, models were only compared to point measurements.

Hence, the most important objectives of the BUMBA proposal are:

(1) the exploitation of the existing expertise at VITO-TAP and BIRA to further develop and optimize a high-resolution APEX-based NO2 column mapping system

(2) the conversion of these values to high-resolution surface layer NO2 concentrations

(3) the use of these NO2 maps to validate and improve the high-resolution RIO-IFDM modelling system

(4) the development of a near-real time high-resolution operational NO2 model and high resolution exposure calculations at IRCEL. The results of these exposure calculations are published in near-real time on the IRCEL-CELINE-website and used in annual assessments in reports on Belgian air quality

(5) the disposition of a validated operational NO2 mapping product as integrated end product within the APEX processing chain for future APEX users.

APEX flight plan over Antwerp on April 15th 2015 and comparison with a typical spaceborne OMI and TROPOMI pixel

APEX flight plan over Antwerp on April 15th 2015 and comparison with a typical spaceborne OMI and TROPOMI pixel