NOAA Picarro


Operated By: 

The Picarro G2401m is a commerical instrument that measures CO2, CH4, CO, and H2O. The analyzer is based on Wavelength-Scanned Cavity Ring Down Spectroscopy (WS-CRDS), a time-based measurement utilizing a near-infrared laser to measure a spectral signature of the molecule. Gas is circulated in an optical measurement cavity with an effective path length of up to 20 kilometers. A patented, high-precision wavelength monitor makes certain that only the spectral feature of interest is being monitored, greatly reducing the analyzer’s sensitivity to interfering gas species, and enabling ultra-trace gas concentration measurements even if there are other gases present. As a result, the analyzer maintains high linearity, precision, and accuracy over changing environmental conditions with minimal calibration required.

The measurement software of the NOAA Picarro has been modified to have a shorter measurement interval (~1.2 seconds instead of ~2.4 seconds) by reducing the number of scans of the CO spectroscopic peak and therefore yielding a less-precise CO measurement (1σ on 1-2 second measurements is ~9 ppb instead of ~4 ppb). The instrument was also modified to have a lower cell pressure set point (80 torr instead of 140 torr) to allow it to operate across the full pressure altitude range of the DC8 without requiring upstream pressurization of the sample stream.

Instrument Type: 
Point(s) of Contact: 
Kathryn McKain (POC; Co-I), Colm Sweeney (Co-I)