Improved analysis of column carbon dioxide and methane data from ground-based Miniaturized Laser Heterodyne Radiometer (Mini-LHR)

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Emily Lynn Wilson1, Hilary Melroy2, Anand K Ramanathan3, Jianping Mao3, Gregory Clarke2, Matthew McLinden4, Lesley E Ott5, John Houston Houston Miller6, Graham R Allan5 and Brent N Holben5, (1)NASA/GSFC, Greenbelt, MD, United States, (2)American University, Physics, Washington, DC, United States, (3)Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, COLLEGE PARK, MD, United States, (4)NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Mesoscale Atmospheric Processes, Greenbelt, MD, United States, (5)NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States, (6)George Washington University, Washington DC, DC, United States
We present an improved data analysis for the Mini-LHR column measurements of CO2 and CH4 that includes corrections for refraction through the atmosphere and meteorological conditions. Multi-scan averaging has also been added to compensate for current shot noise limitations and improve instrument sensitivity. Data with the improved analysis will be shown for field measurements at the TCCON site at CalTech (March 2014), Calpoly during COW-Gas (March 2014), at Mauna Loa Observatory (May 2013), and Atwater, CA (February 2013).

The Mini-LHR is a miniaturized version of a laser heterodyne radiometer that implements telecommunications lasers and components to produce a significantly reduced size, low-cost instrument. Laser heterodyne radiometry has been used since the 1970s to measure atmospheric gases such as ozone, water vapor, methane, ammonia, chlorine monoxide, and nitrous oxide. The Mini-LHR is passive and uses sunlight as the primary light source to measure absorption of CO2 and CH4 in the infrared. Sunlight is collected with collimation optics mounted to the AERONET sun tracker and superimposed with laser light in a single mode fiber coupler. The signals are mixed in a fast photoreceiver (InGaAs detector), and the RF (radio frequency) beat signal is extracted. Changes in concentration of the trace gas are realized through analyzing changes in the beat frequency amplitude.

In addition to the complementary aerosol optical depth measurement, tandem operation with AERONET provides a clear pathway for the mini-LHR to be expanded into a global monitoring network. AERONET has more than 450 instruments worldwide and offers coverage in key arctic regions (not covered by OCO-2) where accelerated warming due to the release of CO2 and CH4 from thawing tundra and permafrost is a concern. A mini-LHR global ground network can also provide an uninterrupted data record that will both bridge gaps in data sets and offer validation for key flight missions such as OCO-2, OCO-3, and ASCENDS. Currently, the only ground global network that routinely measures multiple greenhouse gases in the atmospheric column is TCCON with 18 operational sites worldwide and two in the US. Cost and size of TCCON installations will limit the potential for expansion. We offer a low-cost (<$30K/unit) solution to supplement these measurements.