Atmospheric Airborne Pressure Measurements using the Oxygen A Band for the ASCENDS Mission

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Haris Riris, NASA GSFC, Greenbelt, MD, United States and Michael Rodriguez, Sigma Space Corporation, Lanham, MD, United States
We report on an airborne demonstration of atmospheric oxygen optical depth measurements with an Integrated Path Differential Absorption (IPDA) lidar using a fiber-based laser system and a photon counting detector. Accurate knowledge of atmospheric temperature and pressure is required for NASA’s Active Sensing of CO2 Emissions over Nights, Days and Seasons (ASCENDS) space mission, and climate modeling studies. The lidar uses a doubled Erbium Doped Fiber amplifier and single photon counting detector to measure oxygen absorption at 765 nm. Our approach uses a sequence of laser pulses at increasing wavelengths that sample a pair of absorption lines in the Oxygen A-band at 764.7 nm. The O2 lines were selected after careful spectroscopic analysis to minimize the O2 line temperature dependence and the availability of the transmitter and receiver technology to maximize transmitter power, doubling efficiency, and detector sensitivity. We compare our 2013 and 2014 Oxygen IPDA lidar measurements and evaluate the impact of receiver dynamic range, transmitter stability and signal to noise ratio on the differential optical depth measurements.