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In Situ Airborne Formaldehyde

The NASA GSFC In Situ Airborne Formaldehyde (ISAF) instrument measures formaldehyde (CH2O) on both pressurized and unpressurized (high-altitude) aircraft. Using laser induced fluorescence (LIF), ISAF possesses the high sensitivity, fast time response, and dynamic range needed to observe CH2O throughout the troposphere and lower stratosphere, where concentrations can range from 10 pptv to hundreds of ppbv.

Formaldehyde is produced via the oxidation of hydrocarbons, notably methane (a ubiquitous greenhouse gas) and isoprene (the primary hydrocarbon emitted by vegetation). Observations of CH2O can thus provide information on many atmospheric processes, including:
 - Convective transport of air from the surface to the upper troposphere
 - Emissions of reactive hydrocarbons from cities, forests, and fires
 - Atmospheric oxidizing capacity, which relates to formation of ozone and destruction of methane
In situ observations of CH2O are also crucial for validating retrievals from satellite instruments, such as OMI, TROPOMI, and TEMPO.

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Advanced Whole Air Sampler

32 samples/flight (ER-2); 50 samples/flight (WB57); 90 samples/flight (Global Hawk)

Updated control system with remote control capability

Fill times
–14 km 30 – 40 sec
–16 km 40 – 50 sec
–18 km 50 – 60 sec
–20 km 100 – 120 sec (estimated)

Analysis in UM lab: GC/MS; GC/FID; GC/ECD

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O3 Photometer - UAS (NOAA)

Ozone (O3) in the lower stratosphere (LS) is responsible for absorbing much of the biologically damaging ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sunlight, and thus plays a critical role in protecting Earth's environment. By absorbing UV light, O3 heats the surrounding air, leading to the vertical stratification and dynamic stability that define the stratosphere. Halogen species from anthropogenic compounds such as CFCs can cause significant damage to the O3 layer in the LS and have led to the formation of the Antarctic ozone hole. Accurate measurement of O3 in the LS is the first step toward understanding and protecting stratospheric O3. The UAS Ozone Photometer was designed specifically for autonomous, precise, and accurate O3 measurements in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UT/LS) onboard the NASA Global Hawk Unmanned Aircraft System (GH UAS) and other high altitude research platforms such as the ER-2 and WB-57. With a data rate of 2 Hz, the instrument can provide high-time-resolution, detailed information for studies of O3 photochemistry, radiation balance, stratosphere-troposphere exchange, and air parcel mixing in the UT/LS. Furthermore, its accurate data are useful for satellite retrieval validation.  Contacts: Troy Thornberry, Ru-Shan Gao

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Single Particle Soot Photometer (NOAA)

The SP2 is a laser-induced incandescence instrument primarily used for measuring the refractory BC  (rBC) mass content of individual accumulation-mode aerosol particles. It is able to provide this data product independently of the total particle morphology and mixing state, and thus delivers detailed information not only about BC loadings, but also size distributions, even in exceptionally clean air. The instrument can also provide the optical size of individual particles containing rBC, and identify the presence of materials associated with the BC fraction (i.e. identify the rBC’s mixing state). Since its introduction in 2003, the SP2 has been substantially improved, and now can be considered a highly competent instrument for assessing BC loadings and mixing state in situ.  NOAA deploys multiple SP2s with different designs: the first was built for the WB-57F research aircraft. Two others are rack-mounted units customized at NOAA; one of the rack mounted units can be humidified, and has been deployed with a paired dry rack-mounted SP2 as the "Humidified-Dual SP2" (HD-SP2). The rack mounted units are suitable for in-cabin operations.

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Particle Analysis By Laser Mass Spectrometry

The NOAA PALMS instrument measures single-particle aerosol composition using UV laser ablation to generate ions that are analyzed with a time-of-flight mass spectrometer.  The PALMS size range is approximately 150 to >3000 nm and encompasses most of the accumulation and coarse mode aerosol volume. Individual aerosol particles are classified into compositional classes.  The size-dependent composition data is combined with aerosol counting instruments from Aerosol Microphysical Properties (AMP), the Langley Aerosol Research Group Experiment (LARGE), and other groups to generate quantitative, composition-resolved aerosol concentrations.  Background tropospheric concentrations of climate-relevant aerosol including mineral dust, sea salt, and biomass burning particles are the primary foci for the ATom campaigns.  PALMS also provides a variety of compositional tracers to identify aerosol sources, probe mixing state, track particle aging, and investigate convective transport and cloud processing.

*_Standard data products_**: *

Particle type number fractions: sulfate/organic/nitrate mixtures, biomass burning, EC, sea salt, mineral dust, meteoric, alkali salts, heavy fuel combustion, and other. Sampling times range from 1-5 mins.

*_Advanced data products_**:*

Number, surface area, volume, and mass concentrations of the above particle types. Total sulfate and organic mass concentrations. Relative and absolute abundance of various chemical markers and aerosol sub-components: methanesulfonic acid, sulfate acidity, organic oxidation level, iodine, bromine, organosulfates, pyridine, and other species.

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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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Cloud Particle Imager

The CPI records high-resolution (2.3 micron pixel size) digital images of particles that pass through the sample volume at speeds up to 200 m/s. In older models, CCD camera flashes up to 75 frames per second (fps), potentially imaging more than 25 particles per frame. More recent camera upgrades capable of bringing frame rate to nearly 500 fps. Real time image processing crops particle images from the full frame, eliminating blank space and compressing data by >1000:1. CPI is designed for ummanned use, with AI parameters to optimize performance without supervision.

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Diode Laser Hygrometer

The DLH has been successfully flown during many previous field campaigns on several aircraft, most recently ACTIVATE (Falcon); FIREX-AQ, ATom, KORUS-AQ, and SEAC4RS (DC-8); POSIDON (WB-57); CARAFE (Sherpa); CAMP2Ex and DISCOVER-AQ (P-3); and ATTREX (Global Hawk). This sensor measures water vapor (H2O(v)) via absorption by one of three strong, isolated spectral lines near 1.4 μm and is comprised of a compact laser transceiver and a sheet of high grade retroflecting road sign material to form the optical path. Optical sampling geometry is aircraft-dependent, as each DLH instrument is custom-built to conform to aircraft geometric constraints. Using differential absorption detection techniques, H2O(v) is sensed along the external path negating any potential wall or inlet effects inherent in extractive sampling techniques. A laser power normalization scheme enables the sensor to accurately measure water vapor even when flying through clouds. An algorithm calculates H2O(v) concentration based on the differential absorption signal magnitude, ambient pressure, and temperature, and spectroscopic parameters found in the literature and/or measured in the laboratory. Preliminary water vapor mixing ratio and derived relative humidities are provided in real-time to investigators.

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2D-S Stereo Probe

The 2D-S Stereo Probe is an optical imaging instrument that obtains stereo cloud particle images and concentrations using linear array shadowing. Two diode laser beams cross at right angles and illuminate two linear 128-photodiode arrays. The lasers are single-mode, temperature-stabilized, fiber-coupled diode lasers operating at 45 mW. The optical paths are arbitrarily labeled the “vertical” and “horizontal” probe channels, but the verticality of each channel actually depends on how the probe is oriented on an aircraft. The imaging optical system is based on a Keplerian telescope design having a (theoretical) primary system magnification of 5X, which results in a theoretical effective size of (42.5 µm + 15 µm)/5 = 11.5 µm. However, actual lenses and arrays have tolerances, so it is preferable to measure the actual effective pixel size by dropping several thousands of glass beads with known diameters through the object plane of the optics system.

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BroadBand Radiometers

The Broadband Radiometers (BBR) consist of modified Kipp & Zonen CM-22 pyranometers (to measure solar irradiance) and CG-4 pyrgeometers (to measure IR irradiance) (see http://www.kippzonen.com/). The modifications to make these instruments more suitable for aircraft use include new instrument housings and amplification of the signal at the sensor. The instruments are run in current-loop mode to minimize the effects of noise in long signal cables. The housing is sealed and evacuated to prevent condensation or freezing inside the instrument. Each BBR has the following properties: Field-of-view: Hemispheric Temperature Range: -65C to +80C Estimated Accuracy: 3-5% Data Rate: 10Hz

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