Campaign activities


NITROCAM is an ESA funded airborne demonstration of Nitrosat that will serve as demonstration case and feasibility study for the Nitrosat mission. It will provide the first co-registration of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and ammonia (NH3) measurements at high spatial resolution. NITROCAM relies on two instruments: the SWING UV-VIS spectrometer from BIRA for NO2 and the TELOPS TIR HYPER-CAM LW for NH3.

Survey flights are performed over carefully selected regions of interest (industrial sources, agriculture, urban zones, etc.). An example is shown for NH3 over a fertilizer plant in the figure below (bottom panels), as well as an example of the APEX campaign1 for NO2 (top panels). The dots indicate main industries. The second panels show what Nitrosat would capture from the emitted plumes. The following panels give the same view, degraded at 2×2 and 7×7 km2. At the coarser resolution, the identification of the individual point sources and transport becomes impossible. The gain in point sources identification over current and planned missions is also highlighted.

Top: NO2 column measured above Antwerpen (Belgium) by the APEX instrument. Bottom: NH3 index measured above a fertilizer factory in Piesteritz (Germany).

First flights took place in the Greater Berlin area in November-December 2020 and spring 2021, targetting mainly industrial point sources. Noppen et al. (2023)2 calculated first industrial emission fluxes from simultaneous airborne measurements of NH3 and NO2 over Piesteritz (Germany). The first identification of NH3 released by sedimentation basins associated with soda ash production is also shown. A second campaign took place in Italy in 2022, targetting especially agricultural sources and a nighttime flight.

=> July 2021 (BIRA-IASB)
=> August 2022 (BIRA-IASB)

1. Tack, F., Merlaud, A., Iordache, M.-D., Danckaert, T., Yu, H., Fayt, C., Meuleman, K., Deutsch, F., Fierens, F., and Van Roozendael, M.: High-resolution mapping of the NO2 spatial distribution over Belgian urban areas based on airborne APEX remote sensing, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 10, 1665–1688,, 2017.
2. Noppen, L., Clarisse, L., Tack, F., Ruhtz, T., Merlaud, A., Van Damme, M., Van Roozendael, M., Schuettemeyer, D., Coheur, P.: Constraining Industrial Ammonia Emissions Using Hyperspectral Infrared Imaging , Remote Sens. Environ., 291, 113559,, 2023