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Associated content: 

Compact Airborne Formaldehyde Experiment

The NASA GSFC Compact Airborne Formaldehyde Experiment (CAFE) instrument measures formaldehyde (CH2O) on both pressurized and unpressurized (high-altitude) aircraft. Using non-resonant laser induced fluorescence (LIF), CAFE possesses the high sensitivity, fast time response, and dynamic range needed to observe CH2O throughout the troposphere and lower stratosphere.

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.

Instrument Type: 
DC-8 - AFRC, ER-2 - AFRC, C-23 Sherpa - WFF, HL5200 Hanseo University (NIER)
Point(s) of Contact: 

Airborne Emission Spectrometer

Targeting Fourier Transform Spectrometer (FTS) measuring infrared spectra from 4.5 to 13.4 µm. AES was the airborne testbed for the EOS/Aura TES instrument and operated ~1994-2000.

Instrument Type: 
Point(s) of Contact: 

Rapid Ozone Experiment

The NASA Rapid OZone Experiment (ROZE) is an in situ instrument capable of measuring ozone (O3) throughout the troposphere and lower stratosphere on airborne platforms. The instrument uses cavity-enhanced absorption to measure the amount of ozone in a sampled volume flowing through an optical cell. The high-sensitivity of the cavity-enhanced detection scheme and the small sample volume enable high precision measurements in short integration times, making this instrument suitable for measuring O3 fluxes (the exchange between the Earth's surface and atmosphere) with the eddy covariance technique. The instrument is designed for autonomous operation and requires minimal support (and no gases or dry ice) in the field. An inlet mounted in the free stream is needed to sample ambient air.

Point(s) of Contact: 

ISAF and Friends, FIREX-AQ

ISAF and friends

Cloud, Aerosol, and Refractive Index Experiment

CARE consists of three instruments: an Optical Particle AnaLyzer (OPAL), a second generation Cloud, Aerosol and Precipitation Spectrometer (CAPS), and a Precipitation Imaging Probe (PIP). CARE detects the size distributions of aerosol and cloud particles in the size range between 0.5 µm and 6.2 mm, provides information about particle shape and cloud phase, and allows the retrieval of refractive index of single particles in the size range between ~0.5 and 2 µm.

Point(s) of Contact: 

DC8 Lift off from Boise on August 13, 2019

Entering Horsefly plume

Lick Creek / Mica Creek fire plume


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