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FORMAT campaigns

BIRA-IASB participated as a guest to the FORMAT (FORMAldehyde as a tracer of oxidation in the Troposphere) campaigns. One of the main FORMAT objectives was to improve the measurement techniques that are used to measure formaldehyde (HCHO), which is a good indicator for photochemical smog.

Description of the campaigns

Two campaigns took place in Milano region (Italy) in July 2002 and Sept/Oct 2003, with main focus on intercomparison of formaldehyde retrieved from different instruments. An overview of the FORMAT campaigns can be found on the project website (;

View of the Alzate site with BIRA-IASB instruments

BIRA-IASB instruments

BIRA-IASB operated one MAXDOAS instrument focused on the UV (330-393 nm) in 2002, and two instruments in 2003:
  • MAXDOAS UV/VIS (334-450 nm)
  • MAXDOAS UV (330-390 nm)
with main focus on: HCHO, O4

Scientific highligths

Intercomparison results for HCHO are reviewed in Heckel et al, 2005, Hak et al., 2005; photochemical modelling with focus on formaldehyde and ozone are presented in Liu et al., 2007. Wagner et al. 2011 inverted tropospheric profiles of aerosols axctinction and of HCHO and NO2 mixing rations.

List of publications

Heckel, A., Richter, A., Tarsu, T., Wittrock, F., Hak, C., Pundt, I., Junkermann,W., and Burrows, J. P.: MAX-DOAS measurements of formaldehyde in the Po-Valley, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 5, 909-918, 2005.

Hak, C., I. Pundt, S. Trick, C. Kern, U. Platt, J. Dommen, C. Ordòñez, A.S.H. Prévôt, W. Junkermann, C. Astorga-Lloréns, B.R. Larsen, J. Mellqvist, A. Strandberg, Y. Yu, B. Galle, J. Kleffmann, J.C. L&oulm;rzer, G.O. Braathen, and R. Volkamer, Intercomparison of four different in-situ techniques for ambient formaldehyde measurements in urban air, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 5, 2881-2900, 2005.

Liu, L.,Flatøy, F., Ordòñez, C., Braathen, G. O., Hak, C., Junkermann, W., Andreani-Aksoyoglu, S., Mellqvist, J., Galle, B., Prévôt, A. S. H., and Isaksen, I. S. A., Photochemical modelling in the Po basin with focus on formaldehyde and ozone, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 7, 121-137, 2007.

Wagner, T., Beirle, S., Brauers, T., Deutschmann, T., Frieß, U., Hak, C., Halla, J. D., Heue, K. P., Junkermann, W., Li, X., Platt, U., and Pundt-Gruber, I.: Inversion of tropospheric profiles of aerosol extinction and HCHO and NO2 mixing ratios from MAX-DOAS observations in Milano during the summer of 2003 and comparison with independent data sets, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 4, 2685-2715, SRef-ID: amt/2011-4-2685,, 2011.

Last update on 21 Sep 2016