Back to overview

Retrievals of formaldehyde from ground-based FTIR and MAX-DOAS observations at the Jungfraujoch station and comparisons with GEOS-Chem and IMAGES model simulations

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Franco B., Hendrick F., Van Roozendael M., Muller J. F., Stavrakou T., Marais E. A., Bovy B., Bader W., Fayt C., Hermans C., Lejeune B., Pinardi G., Servais C., Mahieu E.,
Project Beitrag an den Unterhalt und Betrieb der Hochalpinen Forschungsstationen Jungfraujoch und Gornergrat, 2015-2017
Show all

Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques
Volume (Issue) 8(4)
Page(s) 1733 - 1756
Title of proceedings Atmospheric Measurement Techniques
DOI 10.5194/amt-8-1733-2015

Open Access

Type of Open Access Publisher (Gold Open Access)


As an ubiquitous product of the oxidation of many volatile organic compounds (VOCs), formaldehyde (HCHO) plays a key role as a short-lived and reactive intermediate in the atmospheric photo-oxidation pathways leading to the formation of tropospheric ozone and secondary organic aerosols. In this study, HCHO profiles have been successfully retrieved from ground-based Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) solar spectra and UV-visible Multi-AXis Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy (MAX-DOAS) scans recorded during the July 2010-December 2012 time period at the Jungfraujoch station (Swiss Alps, 46.5 degrees N, 8.0 degrees E, 3580 ma.s.l.). Analysis of the retrieved products has revealed different vertical sensitivity between both remote sensing techniques. Furthermore, HCHO amounts simulated by two state-of-the-art chemical transport models (CTMs), GEOS-Chem and IMAGES v2, have been compared to FTIR total columns and MAX-DOAS 3.6-8 km partial columns, accounting for the respective vertical resolution of each ground-based instrument. Using the CTM outputs as the intermediate, FTIR and MAX-DOAS retrievals have shown consistent seasonal modulations of HCHO throughout the investigated period, characterized by summertime maximum and wintertime minimum. Such comparisons have also highlighted that FTIR and MAX-DOAS provide complementary products for the HCHO retrieval above the Jungfraujoch station. Finally, tests have revealed that the updated IR parameters from the HITRAN 2012 database have a cumulative effect and significantly decrease the retrieved HCHO columns with respect to the use of the HITRAN 2008 compilation.