TROPOMI, the Sentinel 5 Precursor Instrument for Air Quality and Climate Observations: Hardware Phase Experiences
de Vries, Johan1; Veefkind, Pepijn2; Voors, Robert1

TROPOMI, the Tropospheric Monitoring Instrument, is a passive UV-VIS-NIR-SWIR trace gas spectrograph in the line of SCIAMACHY (2002) and OMI (2004), instruments with the Netherlands in a leading role. Both instruments are very successful and remained operational long after their nominal life time.

TROPOMI is the next step, scheduled for launch in 2015. It combines the broad wavelength range from SCIAMACHY from UV to SWIR and the broad viewing angle push-broom concept from OMI, which makes daily global coverage in combination with good spatial resolution possible. Using spectral bands from 270-500nm (UV-VIS) 675-775nm (NIR) and 2305-2385nm (SWIR) at moderate resolution (0.25 to 0.6nm) TROPOMI will measure O3, NO2, SO2, BrO, HCHO and H2O tropospheric columns from the UV-VIS-NIR wavelength range and CO and CH4 tropospheric columns from the SWIR wavelength range. Cloud information will be derived primarily from the O2A band in the NIR. This will help, together with the aerosol information, in constraining the light path of backscattered solar radiation. Methane (CH4), CO2 and Carbon monoxide (CO) are the key gases of the global carbon cycle. Of these, Methane is by far the least understood in terms of its sources and is most difficult to predict its future trend. Global space observations are needed to inform atmospheric models. The SWIR channel of TROPOMI is designed to achieve the spectral, spatial and SNR resolution required for this task.

TROPOMI will yield an improved accuracy of the tropospheric products compared to the instruments currently in orbit. TROPOMI will take a major step forward in spatial resolution and sensitivity. The nominal observations are at 7 x 7 km2 at nadir and the signal-to-noises are sufficient for trace gas retrieval even at very low albedos (down to 2%). This spatial resolution allows observation of air quality at sub-city level and the high signal-to-noises means that the instrument can perform useful measurements in the darkest conditions.

TROPOMI is currently entering the hardware phase, with all its surprises for the good and for the bad. Detectors are about to be delivered where the noise performance is better than anticipated but the full well is poorer. At this moment these effects cancel meaning that the expected instrument level performance is as predicted. The paper gives an overview of the challenges and current performances, with a focus on the impact effects may have for users of the instrument.

TROPOMI is the single payload on the Sentinel-5 precursor mission which is a joint initiative of the European Community (EC) and of the European Space Agency (ESA). The 2015 launch intends to bridge the data stream from OMI / SCIAMACHY and the upcoming Sentinel 5 mission. The instrument is funded jointly by the Netherlands Space Office and by ESA. Dutch Space is the instrument prime contractor. SSTL in the UK is developing the SWIR module with a significant contribution from SRON. Dutch Space and TNO are working as an integrated team for the UVN module. KNMI and SRON are responsible for ensuring the scientific capabilities of the instrument.