Top-Down Estimates of NOx and CO Emissions From Washington, D.C.-Baltimore During the WINTER Campaign

O. E. Salmon, P. B. Shepson, X. Ren, H. He, D. L. Hall, R. R. Dickerson, B. H. Stirm, S. S. Brown, D. L. Fibiger, E. E. McDuffie, T. L. Campos, K. R. Gurney, J. A. Thornton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Airborne mass balance experiments were conducted around the Washington, D.C.-Baltimore area using research aircraft from Purdue University and the University of Maryland to quantify emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx = NO + NO2) and carbon monoxide (CO). The airborne mass balance experiments supported the Wintertime INvestigation of Transport, Emissions, and Reactivity (WINTER) campaign, an intensive airborne study of anthropogenic emissions along the Northeastern United States in February–March 2015, and the Fluxes of Atmospheric Greenhouse Gases in Maryland project which seeks to provide best estimates of anthropogenic emissions from the Washington, D.C.-Baltimore area. Top-down emission rates of NOx and CO estimated from the mass balance flights are compared with the Environmental Protection Agency's 2011 and 2014 National Emissions Inventory (NEI-11 and NEI-14). Inventory and observation-derived NOx emission rates are consistent within the measurement uncertainty. Observed CO emission rates are a factor of 2 lower than reported by the NEI. The NEI's accuracy has been evaluated for decades by studies of anthropogenic emissions, yet despite continuous inventory updates, observation-inventory discrepancies persist. WINTER NOx/CO2 enhancement ratios are consistent with inventories, but WINTER CO/NOx and CO/CO2 enhancement ratios are lower than those reported by other urban summertime studies, suggesting a strong influence of CO seasonal trends and/or nationwide CO reductions. There is a need for reliable observation-based criterion pollutant emission rate measurements independent of the NEI. Such determinations could be supplied by the community's reporting of sector-specific criteria pollutant/CO2 enhancement ratios and subsequent multiplication with currently available and forthcoming high-resolution CO2 inventories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7705-7724
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 27 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • CO
  • NEI
  • NOx
  • airborne mass balance
  • urban emissions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Atmospheric Science


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