The main purpose of this study was to investigate whether meteorological parameters (temperature, relative humidity, direct radiation) play an important role in modifying the NO2 concentration in an urban environment. The diurnal and seasonal variation recorded at a NO2 traffic station was analyzed, based on data collected in situ in a Romanian city, Braila (45.26° N, 27.95° E), during 2009-2014. The NO2 atmospheric content close to the ground had, in general, a summer minimum and a late autumn/winter maximum for most years. Two diurnal peaks were observed, regardless of the season, which were more evident during cold months. Traffic is an important contributor to the NO2 atmospheric pollution during daytime hours. The variability of in situ measurements of NO2 concentration compared relatively well with space-based observations of the NO2 vertical column by the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) satellite for most of the period under scrutiny. Data for daytime and nighttime (when the traffic is reduced) were analyzed separately, in the attempt to isolate meteorological effects. Meteorological parameters are not fully independent and we used partial correlation analysis to check whether the relationships with one parameter may be induced by another. The correlation between NO2 and temperature was not coherent. Relative humidity and solar radiation seemed to play a role in shaping the NO2 concentration, regardless of the time of day, and these relationships were only partially interconnected.
Keywords: NO2 variation; in situ urban concentrations; meteorological measurements; nitrogen dioxide; partial correlation.