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COmpact Formaldehyde FluorescencE Experiment (COFFEE(GSFC))

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Operational
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PI

COFFEE instrument mounted in its AJAX rack, ready to ship.

The NASA GSFC COmpact Formaldehyde FluorescencE Experiment (COFFEE) instrument measures formaldehyde (CH2O) using a nonresonant laser induced fluorescence (LIF) technique.  Originally designed to fly in the unpressurized pod of the Alpha Jet, COFFEE is capable of operation on both pressurized and unpressurized (high-altitude) aircraft.  COFFEE 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.

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