Abstract

A novel experimental procedure to measure the near-surface distribution of atmospheric trace gases by using passive multiaxis differential absorption optical spectroscopy (MAX-DOAS) is proposed. The procedure consists of pointing the receiving telescope of the spectrometer to nonreflecting surfaces or to bright targets placed at known distances from the measuring device, which are illuminated by sunlight. We show that the partial trace gas absorptions between the top of the atmosphere and the target can be easily removed from the measured total absorption. Thus it is possible to derive the average concentration of trace gases such as NO2, HCHO, SO2, H 2O, Glyoxal, BrO, and others along the line of sight between the instrument and the target similar to the well-known long-path DOAS observations (but with much less expense). If tomographic arrangements are used, even two- or three-dimensional trace gas distributions can be retrieved. The basic assumptions of the proposed method are confirmed by test measurements taken across the city of Heidelberg.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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