Trends and trend reversal detection in 2 decades of tropospheric NO2 satellite observations

Aristeidis K. Georgoulias*, Ronald A.J. Van Der, Piet Stammes, K. Folkert Boersma, Henk J. Eskes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

116 Citations (Scopus)


In this work, a 21-year global dataset from four different satellite sensors with a mid-morning overpass (GOME/ERS-2, SCIAMACHY/ENVISAT, GOME- 2/Metop-A, and GOME-2/Metop-B) is compiled to study the long-term tropospheric NO2 patterns and trends. The Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment (GOME) and GOME-2 data are corrected relative to the SCanning Imaging Absorption spectroMeter for Atmospheric CHartographY (SCIAMACHY) data to produce a self-consistent dataset that covers the period April 1996September 2017. The highest tropospheric NO2 concentrations are seen over urban, industrialized, and highly populated areas and over ship tracks in the oceans. Tropospheric NO2 has generally decreased during the last 2 decades over the industrialized and highly populated regions of the western world (a total decrease of the order of 49% over the US, the Netherlands, and the UK; 36% over Italy and Japan; and 32% over Germany and France) and increased over developing regions (a total increase of 160% over China and 33% over India). It is suggested here that linear trends cannot be used efficiently worldwide for such long periods. Tropospheric NO2 is very sensitive to socioeconomic changes (e.g., environmental protection policies, economic recession, warfare, etc.) which may cause either short-term changes or even a reversal of the trends. The application of a method capable of detecting the year when a reversal of trends happened shows that tropospheric NO2 concentrations switched from positive to negative trends and vice versa over several regions around the globe. A country-level analysis revealed clusters of countries that exhibit similar positive-to-negative or negative-topositive trend reversals, while 29 out of a total of 64 examined megacities and large urban agglomerations experienced a trend reversal at some point within the last 2 decades.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6269-6294
Number of pages26
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 14 May 2019


Dive into the research topics of 'Trends and trend reversal detection in 2 decades of tropospheric NO2 satellite observations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this