Intimately tracking NO pollution over the NYC - Long Island Sound land-water continuum: An integration of shipboard, airborne, satellite observations, and models

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



The Science of the total environment




Aircraft retrievals; Land-water continuum; Model simulations; NO(2); Remote sensing; Satellite retrievals; Sea breezes; Shipborne measurements; Urban air-quality


Nitrogen dioxide (NO) pollution remains a serious global problem, particularly near highly populated urbanized coasts that face increasing challenges with climate change. Yet, the combined impact of urban emissions, pollution transport, and complex meteorology on the spatiotemporal dynamics of NO along heterogeneous urban coastlines remains poorly characterized. Here, we integrated measurements from different platforms - boats, ground-based networks, aircraft, and satellites - to characterize total column NO (TCNO) dynamics across the land-water continuum in the New York metropolitan area, the most populous area in the United States that often experiences the highest national NO levels. Measurements were conducted during the 2018 Long Island Sound Tropospheric Ozone Study (LISTOS), with a main goal to extend surface measurements beyond the coastline - where ground-based air-quality monitoring networks abruptly stop - and over the aquatic environment where peaks in air pollution often occur. Satellite TCNO from TROPOMI correlated strongly with Pandora surface measurements (r = 0.87, N = 100) both over land and water. Yet, TROPOMI overall underestimated TCNO (MPD = -12 %) and missed peaks in NO pollution caused by rush hour emissions or pollution accumulation during sea breezes. Aircraft retrievals were in excellent agreement with Pandora (r = 0.95, MPD = -0.3 %, N = 108). Stronger agreement was found between TROPOMI, aircraft, and Pandora over land, while over water satellite, and to a lesser extent aircraft, retrievals underestimated TCNO particularly in the highly dynamic New York Harbor environment. Combined with model simulations, our shipborne measurements uniquely captured rapid transitions and fine-scale features in NO behavior across the New York City - Long Island Sound land-water continuum, driven by the complex interplay of human activity, chemistry, and local scale meteorology. These novel datasets provide critical information for improving satellite retrievals, enhancing air quality models, and informing management decisions, with important implications for the health of diverse communities and vulnerable ecosystems along this complex urban coastline.


Environmental and Occupational Health