We present version 1.0 of a global catalog of NOx emissions from point sources, derived from TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) measurements of tropospheric NO2 for 2018–2019. The identification of sources and quantification of emissions are based on the divergence (spatial derivative) of the mean horizontal flux, which is highly sensitive for point sources like power plant exhaust stacks.
The catalog lists 451 locations which could be clearly identified as NOx point sources by a fully automated algorithm, while ambiguous cases as well as area sources such as megacities are skipped. A total of 242 of these point sources could be automatically matched to power plants. Other NOx point sources listed in the catalog are metal smelters, cement plants, or industrial areas. The four largest localized NOx emitters are all coal combustion plants in South Africa. About 1/4 of all detected point sources are located in the Indian subcontinent and are mostly associated with power plants.
The catalog is incomplete, mainly due to persisting gaps in the TROPOMI NO2 product at some coastlines, inaccurate or complex wind fields in coastal and mountainous regions, and high noise in the divergence maps for high background pollution. The derived emissions are generally too low, lacking a factor of about 2 up to 8 for extreme cases. This strong low bias results from combination of different effects, most of all a strong underestimation of near-surface NO2 in TROPOMI NO2 columns.
Still, the catalog has high potential for checking and improving emission inventories, as it provides accurate and independent up-to-date information on the location of sources of NOx and thus also CO2.
The catalog of NOx emissions from point sources is freely available at https://doi.org/10.26050/WDCC/Quant_NOx_TROPOMI (Beirle et al., 2020).
Beirle, S., Borger, C., Dörner, S., Eskes, H., Kumar, V., de Laat, A., and Wagner, T.. Catalog of NOx emissions from point sources as derived from the divergence of the NO2 flux for TROPOMI
Journal: Earth Syst. Sci. Data, Volume: 13, Year: 2021, First page: 2995, Last page: 3012, doi: 10.5194/essd-13-2995-2021