HAI: A novel airborne multi-channel hygrometer for fast multi-phase H2O quantification: Performance of the HAI instrument during the first flights on the German HALO aircraft

Friday, 19 December 2014: 5:30 PM
Volker Ebert1,2, Martina Kraemer3, Armin Afchine3 and Bernhard Buchholz1,2, (1)PTB Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt, Braunschweig, Germany, (2)Technische Universität Darmstadt, Darmstadt, Germany, (3)FZ Juelich, Juelich, Germany
Common gas phase H2O measurements on fast airborne platforms e.g. using backward facing or “Rosemount”-inlets can lead to a high risk of ice and droplets contamination. In addition, currently no single hygrometer exists that allows a simultaneous, high-speed measurement of all phases (gas, liquid, ice) with the same detection principle. In the rare occasions multi-phase measurements are realized, gas-and condensed-phase observations rely on different methods, instruments and calibration strategies so that precision and accuracy levels are quite difficult to quantify. This is effectively avoided by the novel TDLAS instrument, HAI, Hygrometer for Atmospheric Investigation, which allows a simultaneous, high speed, multi-phase detection without any sensor calibration in a unique “2+2” channel concept. Hai combines two independent wavelength channels, at 1.4 µm and at 2.6 µm, for a wide dynamic range from 1 to 30 000 ppmv, with a simultaneous closed path (extractive) and open path detection. Thus, “Total”, i.e. gas-phase plus condensed-phase water is measured by sampling via a forward facing inlet into "closed-path" extractive cells. A selective, sampling-free, high speed gas phase detection is realized via a dual-wavelength "open-path" cell placed outside of the aircraft fuselage. All channels can be sampled with 120 Hz (measurement cycle time Dt=1.6 ms) allowing an unprecedented spatial resolution of 30 cm at 900 km/h. The evaluation of the individual multi-channel raw-data is done post flight, without any channel interdependencies, in calibration-free mode, thus allowing fast, accurate and precise multi-phase water detection in flight. The performance could be shown in more than 200 net flights hours in three scientific flight campaigns (TACTS, ESMVal, ML-CIRRUS) on the new German HALO aircraft. In addition the level of the accuracy of the calibration free evaluation was evaluated at the German national primary water vapor standard.