Pulsed Lidar Measurements of Atmospheric CO2 Column Concentration in the ASCENDS 2014 Airborne Campaign
Abstract:We report progress in demonstrating a pulsed, wavelength-resolved IPDA lidar technique for measuring the tropospheric CO2 concentrations as a candidate for NASA’s ASCENDS mission. The CO2 lidar flies on NASA’s DC-8 aircraft and measures the atmospheric backscatter profiles and shape of the 1572.33 nm absorption line by using 30 wavelength samples distributed across the lube. Our post-flight analysis estimates the lidar range and pulse energies at each wavelength 10 times per second. The retrievals solve for the optimum CO2 absorption line shape and the column average CO2 concentrations using radiative transfer calculations based on HITRAN, the aircraft altitude, range to the scattering surface, and the atmospheric conditions. We compare these to CO2 concentrations sampled by in-situ sensors on the aircraft. The number of wavelength samples can be reduced in the retrievals.
During the ASCENDS airborne campaign in 2013 two flights were made in February over snow in the Rocky Mountains and the Central Plains allowing measurement of snow-covered surface reflectivity.
Several improvements were made to the lidar for the 2014 campaign. These included using a new step-locked laser diode source, and incorporating a new HgCdTe APD detector and analog digitizer into the lidar receiver. Testing showed this detector had higher sensitivity, analog response, and a more linear dynamic range than the PMT detector used previously. In 2014 flights were made in late August and early September over the California Central Valley, the redwood forests along the California coast, two desert areas in Nevada and California, and two flights above growing agriculture in Iowa. Two flights were also made under OCO-2 satellite ground tracks. Analyses show the retrievals of lidar range and CO2 column absorption, and mixing ratio worked well when measuring over topography with rapidly changing height and reflectivity, and through thin clouds and aerosol scattering. The lidar measurements clearly show the decrease in CO2 concentration over growing cropland in Iowa. In several flights the agreement of the lidar with the column average concentration was < 1ppm, with standard deviation of 0.9 ppm. A summary of these results will be presented.