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Global Hawk in NASA colors

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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O3 Photometer (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. Manmade halogen compounds, such as CFCs, cause significant damage to the O3 layer in the LS and lead 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 Ozone Photometer was designed specifically for autonomous, precise, and accurate O3 measurements in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UT/LS). Flown for thousands of hours onboard the NASA ER-2, NASA WB-57, and NSF GV high-altitude aircraft, this instrument has played a key role in improving our understanding of O3 photochemistry in the UT/LS. Furthermore, its accurate data has been used, and continues to be highly sought after, for satellite validation, and studies of radiation balance, stratosphere-troposphere exchange, and air parcel mixing. Contacts: Ru-Shan Gao, David Fahey, Troy Thornberry, Laurel Watts, Steve Ciciora

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Gulfstream V - NSF, WB-57 - JSC, Global Hawk - AFRC
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Ozonesondes (NOAA)

NOAA Ozonesonde payloads include an Electrochemical Concentration Cell (ECC) ozonesonde, and a radiosonde to telemeter data to the ground and provide in situ measurements of temperature, pressure, relative humidity (surface to upper troposphere), and GPS coordinates. Sounding data typically reach an altitude of 28 km.

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Balloon
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Balloonsondes (NOAA)

NOAA Balloonsonde payloads include a NOAA Frost Point Hygrometer (FPH), an Electrochemical Concentration Cell (ECC) ozonesonde, and a radiosonde to telemeter data to the ground and provide in situ measurements of temperature, pressure, relative humidity (surface to upper troposphere), and GPS coordinates. Sounding data typically reach an altitude of 28 km.

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Balloon
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Balloon Borne Frost Point Hygrometer

The NOAA Balloon-borne Frost Point Hygrometer is based on the chilled mirror principle. The FPH measures the temperature of a small mirror controlled to maintain a constant, thin layer of frost. Under stable conditions the mirror temperature equals the frost point temperature of the air passing over the mirror. The frost coverage on the mirror is detected by a photodiode that senses the light of a light-emitting diode (LED) reflected off the mirror surface. Both optical components are rigorously temperature controlled, minimizing drift in the LED's intensity and the photodiode's sensitivity. The reflectance signal is used to control the temperature of the mirror using P-I-D logic. The mirror temperature is measured by a well-calibrated bead thermistor. The mirror temperature is telemetered to the ground station (along with a large array of other data) by a radiosonde that also provides in situ measurements of ambient temperature, pressure, relative humidity (only in the lower and middle troposphere), and GPS coordinates.

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Balloon
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Unmanned Aerial System Laser Hygrometer

ULH measures water vapor at high accuracy in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere to meet the following science objectives:

1. validation and scientific collaboration with NASA earth-monitoring satellite missions, principally the Aura satellite, http://aura.gsfc.nasa.gov/

2. observations of stratospheric trace gases in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere from the mid-latitudes into the tropics,

3. sampling of polar stratospheric air and the break-up fragments of the air that move into the mid-latitudes, The ULH flights on Global Hawk will advance the state of the art technologically with remote command and control. ULH will provide real-time in-situ stratospheric water vapor measurements from Global Hawk. Additionally, ULH will make continuous measurements during long-duration flights up to 33 hours, which would be impossible with manned aircraft.

The advantages of ULH over other hygrometers are:

• Small and lightweight instrument package,
• No outgassing (achieved by mounting the open-path optical cell in the free air stream),
• Fast time response measurements in and out of clouds, without contamination,
• Accurate with a low detection limit <1 ppmv.

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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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DC-8 - AFRC, ER-2 - AFRC, Global Hawk - AFRC, L-188C, M-55, Gulfstream V - NSF, WB-57 - JSC
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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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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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