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Airborne Laser Isotope Spectrometer

Isotopic CO2 measurements have been identified as an important component of NASA's Earth Science Enterprise's Carbon Cycle Initiative as part of its program in global climate change. The isotopic composition of atmospheric CO2, and especially its 13CO2/ 12CO2 ratio, is an established tool for understanding the details of the global carbon cycle, since this ratio can distinguish between oceanic and terrestrial biospheric sinks of CO2.

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Aircraft Laser Infrared Absorption Spectrometer

ALIAS (Aircraft Laser Infrared Absorption Spectrometer) measures total water, total water isotopes, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide isotope ratios. No other instrument provides real-time measurements of carbon dioxide isotope ratios which are clear identifiers of atmospheric transport (18O/17O/16O for stratospheric intrusion, 13C/12C for anthropogenic signals). ALIAS easily adapts to changing mission priorities and can be configured to measure HCl, CH4, SO2, and N2O by simply replacing a semiconductor laser. These measurements contribute to Atmospheric Composition Focus Area research by providing key data on how convective processes affect stratospheric composition, the development of cirrus particles and their affect on Earth's radiative balance, and health of the ozone layer through measurement of chlorine partitioning.

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