We present long term observations of atmospheric nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and formaldehyde (HCHO) in Nanjing using a Multi-AXis Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy (MAX-DOAS) instrument. Ground based MAX-DOAS measurements were performed from April 2013 to February 2017. The MAX-DOAS measurements of NO2 and HCHO vertical column densities (VCDs) are used to validate OMI satellite observations over Nanjing. We developed a new technique to assemble the source contribution map using backward trajectory analysis. The age weighted backward propagation approach is applied to the MAX-DOAS measurements of NO2 and HCHO to reconstruct the spatial distribution of NO2 and HCHO over the Yangtze River Delta during summer and winter time. The reconstructed NO2 fields show a distinct agreement with OMI satellite observations. However, due to the short atmospheric lifetime of HCHO, the backward propagated HCHO data does not show a strong spatial correlation with the OMI HCHO observations. The result shows the MAX-DOAS measurements are sensitive to the air pollution transportation in the Yangtze River Delta, indicating the air quality in Nanjing is significantly influenced by regional transportation of air pollutants. Our results provide a better understanding of the transportation and sources of pollutants in over the Yangtze River Delta as well as the effect of emission control measures during large international event, which are important for the future design of air pollution control policies.

© 2019 The Author(s)

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