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AVE-Houston2
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PAN and Trace Hydrohalocarbon ExpeRiment

PANTHER uses Electron Capture Detection and Gas Chromatography (ECD-GC) and Mass Selective Detection and Gas Chromatography (MSD-GC) to measure numerous trace gases, including Methyl halides, HCFCs, PAN, N20, SF6, CFC-12, CFC-11, Halon-1211, methyl chloroform, carbon tetrachloride.

3 ECD (electron capture detectors), packed columns (OV-101, Porpak-Q, molecular sieve).

1 ECD with a TE (thermal electric) cooled RTX-200 capillary column.

2-channel MSD (mass selective detector). The MSD analyses two independent samples concentrated onto TE cooled Haysep traps, then passed through two temperature programmed RTX-624 capillary columns.

With the exception of PAN, all channels of chromatography are normalized to a stable in-flight calibration gas references to NOAA scales. The PAN data is normalized to an in-flight PAN source of ≈ 100 ppt with ±5 % reproducibility. This source is generated by efficient photolytic conversion of NO in the presence of acetone. Detector non-linearity is taken out by lab calibrations for all molecules.

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NOAA Pressure and Temperature

In order to make an accurate temperature and pressure measurement, a Weston digital pressure temperature transducer is used to measure both static and ram pressure. These transducers are accurate to within +/- 0.01 % of full-scale or +/- 0.1 mbar. When the aircraft was manufactured, two ports on either side of the aircraft were placed at positions where the air moving across the skin is perpendicular to the port. These ports are connected together and to the static pressure transducer. The ram pressure measurement consists of a forward-looking tube with a wideangle opening connected to the ram pressure transducer. The ram pressure is calculated by subtracting the static pressure from this measurement.

The temperature probes consist of a slow and fast responding type 102 probe from Goodyear Aerospace Corporation. The platinum wire temperature sensor in the type 102 probe is calibrated to less than +/- 0.1 degree.

Data is gathered once every second from these probes using a custom data system. The Weston pressure transducers are held at a constant temperature of 50 degrees Celsius in order to reduce temperature effects on the measurement and in order to prevent condensation within the sensor. The analog to digital converters are also held at a relatively constant temperature, and a thousand samples from each channel is averaged each second. This over sampling results in a precision of 0.03 degrees in temperature and 0.03 mbars in pressure. We estimate the total accuracy of these measurements in flight to be +/- 0.5 degrees for temperature and +/- 0.5 mb for pressure.

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Nuclei-Mode Aerosol Size Spectrometer

The nucleation-mode aerosol size spectrometer (NMASS) measures the concentration of particles as a function of diameter from approximately 4 to 60 nm. A sample flow is continuously extracted from the free stream using a decelerating inlet and is transported to the NMASS. Within the instrument, the sample flow is carried to 5 parallel condensation nucleus counters (CNCs) as shown in Fig. 1. Each CNC is tuned to measure the cumulative concentration of particles larger than certain diameter. The minimum detectable diameters for the 5 CNCs are 4.0, 7.5, 15, 30 and 55 nm, respectively. An inversion algorithm is applied to recover a continuous size distribution in the 4 to 60 nm diameter range.

The NMASS has been proven particularly useful in measurements of nucleation-mode size distribution in environments where concentrations are relatively high and fast instrumental response is required. The instrument has made valuable measurements vicinity of cirrus clouds in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (WAM), in the near-field exhaust of flying aircraft (SULFUR 6), in newly created rocket plumes (ACCENT), and in the plumes of coal-fired power plants (SOS ’99). The instrument has flown on 3 different aircraft and operated effectively at altitudes from 50 m to 19 km and ambient temperatures from 35 to -80ºC.

Accuracy. The instrument is calibrated using condensationally generated particles that are singly charged and classified by differential electrical mobility. Absolute counting efficiencies are determined by comparison with an electrometer. Monte carlo simulations of the propagation of uncertainties through the numerical inversion algorithm and comparison with established laboratory techniques are used to establish accuracies for particular size distributions, and may vary for different particle size distributions. A study of uncertainties in aircraft plume measurements demonstrated a combined uncertainty (accuracy and precision) of 38%, 36% and 38% for number, surface and volume, respectively.

Precision. The precision is controlled by particle counting statistics for each channel. If better precision is desired, it is necessary only to accumulate over longer time intervals.

Response Time: Data are recorded with 10 Hz resolution, and the instrument has demonstrated response times of this speed in airborne sampling. However the effective response time depends upon the precision required to detect the change in question. Small changes may require longer times to detect. Plume measurements with high concentrations of nucleation-mode particles may be processed at 10 Hz.

Specifications: Weight is approximately 96 lbs, including an external pump. External dimensions are approximately 15”x16”x32”. Power consumption is 350 W at 28 VDC, including the pump.

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Microwave Temperature Profiler

The Microwave Temperature Profiler (MTP) is a passive microwave radiometer, which measures the natural thermal emission from oxygen molecules in the earth’s atmosphere for a selection of elevation angles between zenith and nadir. The current observing frequencies are 55.51, 56.65 and 58.80 GHz. The measured "brightness temperatures" versus elevation angle are converted to air temperature versus altitude using a quasi-Bayesian statistical retrieval procedure. The MTP has no ITAR restrictions, has export compliance classification number EAR99/NLR. An MTP generally consists of two assemblies: a sensor unit (SU), which receives and detects the signal, and a data unit (DU), which controls the SU and records the data. In addition, on some platforms there may be a third element, a real-time analysis computer (RAC), which analyzes the data to produce temperature profiles and other data products in real time. The SU is connected to the DU with power, control, and data cables. In addition the DU has interfaces to the aircraft navigation data bus and the RAC, if one is present. Navigation data is needed so that information such as altitude, pitch and roll are available. Aircraft altitude is needed to perform retrievals (which are altitude dependent), while pitch and roll are needed for controlling the position of a stepper motor which must drive a scanning mirror to predetermined elevation angles. Generally, the feed horn is nearly normal to the flight direction and the scanning mirror is oriented at 45-degrees with respect to receiving feed horn to allow viewing from near nadir to near zenith. At each viewing position a local oscillator (LO) is sequenced through two or more frequencies. Since a double sideband receiver is used, the LO is generally located near the "valley" between two spectral lines, so that the upper and lower sidebands are located near the spectral line peaks to ensure the maximum absorption. This is especially important at high altitudes where "transparency" corrections become important if the lines are too "thin." Because each frequency has a different effective viewing distance, the MTP is able to "see" to different distances by changing frequency. In addition, because the viewing direction is also varied and because the atmospheric opacity is temperature and pressure dependent, different effective viewing distances are also achieved through scanning in elevation . If the scanning is done so that the applicable altitudes (that is, the effective viewing distance times the sine of the elevation angle) at different frequencies and elevation angles are the same, then inter-frequency calibration can also be done, which improves the quality of the retrieved profiles. For a two-frequency radiometer with 10 elevation angles, each 15-second observing cycle produces a set of 20 brightness temperatures, which are converted by a linear retrieval algorithm to a profile of air temperature versus altitude, T(z). Finally, radiometric calibration is performed using the outside air temperature (OAT) and a heated reference target to determine the instrument gain. However, complete calibration of the system to include "window corrections" and other effects, requires tedious analysis and comparison with radiosondes near the aircraft flight path. This is probably the most important single factor contributing to reliable calibration. For stable MTPs, like that on the DC8, such calibrations appear to be reliable for many years. Such analysis is always performed before MTP data are placed on mission archive computers.

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Meteorological Measurement System

The Meteorological Measurement System (MMS) is a state-of-the-art instrument for measuring accurate, high resolution in situ airborne state parameters (pressure, temperature, turbulence index, and the 3-dimensional wind vector). These key measurements enable our understanding of atmospheric dynamics, chemistry and microphysical processes. The MMS is used to investigate atmospheric mesoscale (gravity and mountain lee waves) and microscale (turbulence) phenomena. An accurate characterization of the turbulence phenomenon is important for the understanding of dynamic processes in the atmosphere, such as the behavior of buoyant plumes within cirrus clouds, diffusions of chemical species within wake vortices generated by jet aircraft, and microphysical processes in breaking gravity waves. Accurate temperature and pressure data are needed to evaluate chemical reaction rates as well as to determine accurate mixing ratios. Accurate wind field data establish a detailed relationship with the various constituents and the measured wind also verifies numerical models used to evaluate air mass origin. Since the MMS provides quality information on atmospheric state variables, MMS data have been extensively used by many investigators to process and interpret the in situ experiments aboard the same aircraft.

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JPL Laser Hygrometer

The JPL Laser Hygrometer (JLH) is an autonomous spectrometer to measure atmospheric water vapor from airborne platforms. It is designed for high-altitude scientific flights of the NASA ER-2 aircraft to monitor upper tropospheric (UT) and lower stratospheric (LS) water vapor for climate studies, atmospheric chemistry, and satellite validation. JLH will participate in the NASA SEAC4RS field mission this year. The light source for JLH is a near-infrared distributed feedback (DFB) tunable diode laser that scans across a strong water vapor vibrational-rotational combination band absorption line in the 1.37 micrometer band. Both laser and detector are temperature‐stabilized on a thermoelectrically-cooled aluminum mount inside an evacuated metal housing. A long optical path is folded within a Herriott Cell for sensitivity to water vapor in the UT and LS. A Herriott cell is an off-axis multipass cell using two spherical mirrors [Altmann et al., 1981; Herriott et al., 1964]. The laser beam enters the Herriott cell through a hole in the mirror that is closest to the laser. The laser beam traverses many passes of the Herriott cell and then returns through the same mirror hole to impinge on a detector.

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Harvard Lyman-α Photofragment Fluorescence Hygrometer

The Harvard Water Vapor (HWV) instrument combines two independent measurement methods for the simultaneous in situ detection of ambient water vapor mixing ratios in a single duct. This dual axis instrument combines the heritage of the Harvard Lyman-α photo-fragment fluorescence instrument (LyA) with the newly designed tunable diode laser direct absorption instrument (HHH). The Lyman-α detection axis functions as a benchmark measurement, and provides a requisite link to the long measurement history of Harvard Lyman-α aboard NASA’s WB-57 and ER-2 aircraft [Weinstock et al., 1994; Hintsa et al., 1999; Weinstock et al., 2009]. The inclusion of HHH provides a second high precision measurement that is more robust than LyA to changes in its measurement sensitivity [Smith et al., in preparation]. The simultaneous utilization of radically different measurement techniques facilitates the identification, diagnosis, and constraint of systematic errors both in the laboratory and in flight. As such, it constitutes a significant step toward resolving the controversy surrounding water vapor measurements in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere.

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Cloud Physics Lidar

The Cloud Physics Lidar, or CPL, is a backscatter lidar designed to operate simultaneously at 3 wavelengths: 1064, 532, and 355 nm. The purpose of the CPL is to provide multi-wavelength measurements of cirrus, subvisual cirrus, and aerosols with high temporal and spatial resolution. Figure 1 shows the entire CPL package in flight configuration. The CPL utilizes state-of-the-art technology with a high repetition rate, low pulse energy laser and photon-counting detection. Vertical resolution of the CPL measurements is fixed at 30 m; horizontal resolution can vary but is typically about 200 m. The CPL fundamentally measures range-resolved profiles of volume 180-degree backscatter coefficients. From the fundamental measurement, various data products are derived, including: time-height crosssection images; cloud and aerosol layer boundaries; optical depth for clouds, aerosol layers, and planetary boundary layer (PBL); and extinction profiles. The CPL was designed to fly on the NASA ER-2 aircraft but is adaptable to other platforms. Because the ER-2 typically flies at about 65,000 feet (20 km), onboard instruments are above 94% of the earth’s atmosphere, allowing ER-2 instruments to function as spaceborne instrument simulators. The ER-2 provides a unique platform for atmospheric profiling, particularly for active remote sensing instruments such as lidar, because the spatial coverage attainable by the ER-2 permits studies of aerosol properties across wide regions. Lidar profiling from the ER-2 platform is especially valuable because the cloud height structure, up to the limit of signal attenuation, is unambiguously measured.

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Focused Cavity Aerosol Spectrometer

The FCAS II sizes particles in the approximate diameter range from 0.07 mm to 1 mm. Particles are sampled from the free stream with a near isokinetic sampler and are transported to the instrument. They are then passed through a laser beam and the light scattered by individual particles is measured. Particle size is related to the scattered light. The data reduction for the FCAS II takes into account the water which is evaporated from the particle in sampling and the effects of anisokinetic sampling (Jonsson et al., 1995).

The FCAS II and its predecessors have provided accurate aerosol size distribution measurements throughout the evolution of the volcanic cloud produced by the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo. (Wilson et al., 1993). Near co-incidences between FCAS II and SAGE II measurements show good agreement between optical extinctions calculated from FCAS size distributions and extinctions measured by SAGE II.

Accuracy: The instrument has been calibrated with monodisperse aerosol carrying a single charge. The FCAS III and the electrometer agree to within 10%. Sampling errors may increase the uncertainty but a variety of comparisons suggests that total uncertainties in aerosol surface are near 30% (Jonsson, et al., 1995).

Precision: The precision equals 1/ÖN where N is the number of particles counted. In many instances the precision on concentration measurements may reach 7% for 0.1 Hz data. If better precision is desired, it is necessary only to accumulate over longer time intervals.

Response Time: Data are processed at 0.1 Hz. However, the response time depends upon the precision required to detect the change in question. Small changes may require longer times to detect. Plume measurements may be processed with 1 s resolution.

Weight: Approximately 50 lbs.

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Chemical Ionization Mass Spectrometer

The NOAA chemical ionization mass spectrometer (CIMS) instrument was developed for high-precision measurements of gaseous nitric acid (HNO3) specifically under high- and variable-humidity conditions in the boundary layer. The instrument’s background signals (i.e., signals detected when HNO3-free air is measured), which depend on the humidity and HNO3 concentration of the sample air, are the most important factor affecting the limit of detection (LOD). A new system to provide HNO3-free air without changing both the humidity and the pressure of the sampled air was developed to measure the background level accurately. The detection limit was about 23 parts per trillion by volume (pptv) for 50-s averages. Field tests, including an intercomparison with the diffusion scrubber technique, were carried out at a surface site in Tokyo, Japan, in October 2003 and June 2004. A comparison between the measured concentrations of HNO3 and particulate nitrate indicated that the interference from particulate nitrate was not detectable (i.e., less than about 1%). The intercomparison indicated that the two independent measurements of HNO3 agreed to within the combined uncertainties of these measurements.

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