The Berkeley High-Resolution (BEHR) retrieval of NO2 vertical column density from OMI utilizes higher-resolution terrain and profile inputs compared to the operational retrievals in order to account for the spatial and seasonal variation of these parameters that have been shown to significantly effect the retrieved NO2 column densities.

BEHR relies on the NASA Standard Product for destriping and stratospheric subtraction methods, and thus we have adopted the following naming convention for BEHR versions: the version is described by a number, which corresponds to the version number of the Standard Product used, and a letter, which corresponds to the version of BEHR using stratospheric subtraction and destriping methods from that Standard Product version number. For example, the initial BEHR product described in more detail in Russell et al. (2011) is BEHR v1.0A, as it was the first BEHR retrieval and based on Standard Product v1.0. A subsequent version was prepared using the same Standard Product v1.0 and was named v1.0B.

Additionally, minor revisions to the format of the product that do not substantially change the data itself are identified with the suffix revN. Thus v1.0Brev1 would be a minor revision to v1.0B. v1.0B and v1.0Brev0 would be the same.  In the file names and attributes, the version number may be given as, e.g. v1-0B. This is the same as v1.0B, we use a hyphen instead of a period to avoid potential issues with OSes that expect a period to only separate the file extension from the file name.

The currently available version is BEHR v3.0B.  This was uploaded on 24 July 2018.  This changelog enumerates all the changes. This product is described in detail in Laughner et al. 2018a and its evaluation against aircraft and Pandora data is described in Laughner et al. 2018b.

If you intend to utilize the scattering weights or averaging kernels, please read section 4.4 of the BEHR-User-Guide.pdf first as it explains the consideration that went into their formatting.

BEHR is split into subproducts using daily and monthly a priori NO2 profiles. The product using monthly profiles is available for OMI observations since January 2005 to July 2017 over the continental United States (land only). The product using daily profiles is generally preferred, but only available for 2005, 2007-2009, and 2012-2014 currently. More years will be added as the simulation of the a priori profiles completes.

The following table provides a summary of the terrain and profile parameters used in the operational and BEHR products.

Table 1: Comparison of parameters used in the BEHR product and those used in the operational products.


Data Description

The BEHR product is available in daily files (organized by individual overpasses) at the native OMI footprint resolution as .hdf files. The product is also provided in a regridded format at 0.05° × 0.05° (125-65W, 25-50N) resolution as .hdf files; however, these files include a limited set of variables. A list of variables is given in Table 1 of the user guide. Tools for working with .hdf files are available at Some people have had difficulty opening the BEHR .hdf files, especially when using older software; the files can be opened in MATLAB versions since 2012a, and we have also included some Python code which can be used to open the files (please click here).  Please note that different functions or tools are often needed to open .hdf version 4 and version 5 files; all BEHR .hdf files are version 5 and need to be opened using the appropriate tools.


OMNO2 README File, available at

Russell, A. R., Perring, A. E., Valin, L. C., Bucsela, E., Browne, E. C., Min, K.-E., Wooldridge, P. J., and Cohen, R. C.: A high spatial resolution retrieval of NO2 column densities from OMI: method and evaluation, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 8543-8554, doi:10.5194/acp-11-8543-2011, 2011. Article

Russell, A. R., Valin, L. C., and Cohen, R. C.: Trends in OMI NO2 observations over the United States: effects of emissions control technology and the economic recession, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 12197-12209, doi:10.5194/acp-12-12197-2012, 2012. Article

Laughner, J.L., Zare, A. and Cohen, R.C.: Effects of daily meteorology on the interpretation of space-based remote sensing of NO2, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 15247-15264, doi:10.5194/acp-16-15247-2016, 2016. Article

Laughner, J.L. and Cohen, R.C.: Quantification of the effect of modeled lightning NO2 on UV-visible air mass factors, Atmos. Meas. Tech.,  doi:10.5194/amt-10-4403-2017, 2017. Article

Laughner, J.L., Zhu, Q., and Cohen, R.C.: The Berkeley High Resolution Tropospheric NO2 Product, Earth. Sys. Sci. Data Discuss., doi:10.5194/essd-2018-66, 2018. Article