Status of atmospheric air pollution in Ukraine prior to the full-scale russian invasion. Part 2: Pollutants total content according to the satellite data

  • M. V. Savenets
  • L. M. Nadtochii
  • T. V. Kozlenko
  • K. M. Komisar
  • N. S. Zhemera
Keywords: Sentinel-5P, total content, pollution, emissions, atmospheric air


The paper describes the main features of pollutant total content distribution over Ukraine that can be used as baseline air quality data observed before the full-scale russian invasion in Ukraine. The study is based on the data derived from the TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) onboard of the Sentinel-5 Precursor (5P) satellite that indicates nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO) and formaldehyde (CH2O) levels. We defined the characteristics of pollutants spatial distribution with full coverage of Ukrainian territory. Despite the increasing role of automotive emissions, the most polluted air in Ukraine was still observed over large industrial cities and smaller settlements having the biggest thermal power plants (TPP). The high level of pollutants content over these locations negatively affects air quality in suburban and rural areas by the prevailing wind. They form relatively stable polluted spots over larger areas. Hence, main polluted areas include: Donetsk Region; territories in the central part of Ukraine along the Dnipro River and near the destroyed Kakhovka reservoir; Kharkiv and Zmiiv TPPs; Kyiv and Trypillia TPPs; and the territories in the western part, including Lviv, Dobrotvir and Burshtyn TPPs. The polluted air from these territories determines the air quality depending on a prevailing wind. In case of high wind speeds polluted air can be distributed from urban areas towards relatively clean territories such as Carpathian and Crimean Mountains, northern Polissia, and the Medobory National Park of Podillia. We determined quantitative parameters of wind speed and direction for every pollutant that causes higher total content over relatively clean territories. Pollutants dispersion in the atmosphere varies depending on a boundary layer height (BLH). It was found that NO2, CO and SO2 content significantly increased when the BLH was below 500 m over both urban areas and clean territories with no emission sources available. The inverse dependence on the BLH was identified for CH2O. This can be explained by a more intense photochemical production at higher altitudes. The detected baseline air pollution conditions can be used in order to assess the impact of the war on air quality in Ukraine and come up with relevant post-war development measures.


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How to Cite
Savenets, M. V., Nadtochii, L. M., Kozlenko, T. V., Komisar, K. M., & Zhemera, N. S. (2023). Status of atmospheric air pollution in Ukraine prior to the full-scale russian invasion. Part 2: Pollutants total content according to the satellite data. Ukrainian Hydrometeorological Journal, (32), 130-143.
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