Synonyms: 
DC8
DC-8
NASA DC8
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Aerosol Lidar

The Aerosol Lidar system measures profiles of aerosol and/or cloud backscatter at 532 and 1064 nm and aerosol/cloud depolarization at 532 nm. Backscatter profiles at these two wavelengths provide information on the relative concentration and spatial distribution of aerosol/cloud particles. Comparison of aerosol/cloud backscatter at the two wavelengths provides some indication of particle size. Measurement of the depolarizing effect of the particles (that is, the degree to which the polarization of the backscattered light from the particles differs from the linear polarization of the transmitted laser light) provides an indication of particle phase.

The Aerosol Lidar is a piggy-back instrument on AROTEL lidar fielded by John Burris and Tom McGee of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. The light source for the aerosol measurements is a Continuum 9050 Nd:YAG laser operating at 50 shots per second. The laser transmits approximately 600 mJ at 1064 nm, 250 mJ at 532 nm, and 350 mJ at 355 nm. AROTEL also employs an excimer laser transmitting at 308 nm and uses the molecular and Raman backscatter from the 355 and 308 beams to measure ozone and temperature. Backscattered light at all wavelengths is collected by a 16-inch diameter Newtonian telescope with a selectable field stop. In the aft optics assembly following the telescope and field stop, the UV signals are separated from the 532- and 1064-nm signals by a dichroic beam splitter. The UV signals are directed to the AROTEL receiver assembly and the 532- and 1064-nm signals are directed to the Aerosol Lidar receiver assembly. In the Aerosol Lidar receiver, a rotating shutter blocks the very strong near-range 532- and 1064-nm signals in order to reduce distortion in the relatively weaker signals from higher altitudes. The 532- and 1064-nm signals are separated by a dichroic beam splitter and the 532-nm signal is further separated into orthogonal polarization components using a polarizing beam cube. A computer-controlled half-wave plate in front of the polarizing beam cube is rotated so that the polarization of the 532 signals are parallel and perpendicular to the polarization of the transmitted laser pulses. The signals at both wavelengths and both 532-nm polarizations are transmitted to detectors at the Aerosol Lidar data acquisition rack via fiber optic cables. Each optical signal, the 1064-nm total backscatter and the 532-nm parallel and perpendicularly polarized backscatter, is directed to two separate detectors, with 10% going to one detector and 90% to the other, in order to more accurately measure the signals over their full dynamic range. The 532-nm returns are measured with photo-multiplier tubes and the 1064-nm returns are measured with avalanche photo-diodes. Because of the high optical signal levels, all data are acquired in analog mode, using 12-bit analog-to-digital converters. The instrument operates under both daytime and nighttime lighting conditions, with a slight degradation in data quality during the daytime.

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Whole Air Sampler

The UC-Irvine research group collected whole air samples aboard the NASA DC-8 aircraft during the summer 2019 NASA Fire Influence on Regional to Global Environments Experiment - Air Quality (FIREX-AQ) field mission. More than 70 trace gases were identified and quantified at our Irvine laboratory, including C2-C10 NMHCs, C1-C2 halocarbons, C1-C5 alkyl nitrates, and selected sulfur compounds using our established technique of airborne whole air sampling followed by laboratory analysis using gas chromatography (GC) with flame ionization detection (FID), electron capture detection (ECD), and mass spectrometric detection (MSD). Our experimental procedures build on those that have been successfully employed for numerous prior NASA field missions, for example PEM Tropics A and B, TRACE-P, INTEX-A and B, ARCTAS, DC-3, SEAC4RS, ATom, KORUS-AQ, and SARP.

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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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Solar Spectral Flux Radiometer

In early 2000, the Ames Atmospheric Radiation Group completed the design and development of an all new Solar Spectral Flux Radiometer (SSFR). The SSFR is used to measure solar spectral irradiance at moderate resolution to determine the radiative effect of clouds, aerosols, and gases on climate, and also to infer the physical properties of aerosols and clouds. Additionally, the SSFR was used to acquire water vapor spectra using the Ames 25-meter base-path multiple-reflection absorption cell in a laboratory experiment. The Solar Spectral Flux Radiometer is a moderate resolution flux (irradiance) spectrometer with 8-12 nm spectral resolution, simultaneous zenith and nadir viewing. It has a radiometric accuracy of 3% and a precision of 0.5%. The instrument is calibrated before and after every experiment, using a NIST-traceable lamp. During field experiments, the stability of the calibration is monitored before and after each flight using portable field calibrators. Each SSFR consists of 2 light collectors, which are either fix-mounted to the aircraft fuselage, or on a stabilizing platform which counteracts the movements of the aircraft. Through fiber optic cables, the light collectors are connected to 2 identical pairs of spectrometers, which cover the wavelength range from (a) 350 nm-1000 nm (Zeiss grating spectrometer with Silicon linear diode array) and (b) 950 nm - 2150 nm (Zeiss grating spectrometer with InGaAs linear diode array). Each spectrometer pair covers about 95% of the incoming solar incident irradiance spectrum.

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Whole Air Sampler

The Whole Air Sampler (WAS) collects samples from airborne platforms for detailed analysis of a wide range of trace gases. The compounds that are typically measured from the WAS includes trace gases with sources from industrial midlatitude emissions, from biomass burning, and from the marine boundary layer, with certain compounds (e.g. organic nitrates) that have a unique source in the equatorial surface ocean. The use of a broad suite of tracers with different sources and lifetimes provides powerful diagnostic information on air mass history and chemical processing that currently is only available from measurements from whole air samples. Previous deployments of the whole air sampler have shown that the sampling and analytical procedures employed by our group are capable of accessing the wide range of mixing ratios at sufficient precision to be used for tracer studies. Thus, routine measurement of species, such as methyl iodide, at <= 0.1 x 10-12 mole fraction, or NMHC at levels of a few x 10-12 mole fraction are possible. In addition to the tracer aspects of the whole air sampler measurements, we measure a full suite of halocarbon species that provide information on the role of short-lived halocarbons in the tropical UT/LS region, on halogen budgets in the UT/LS region, and on continuing increasing temporal trends of HFCs (such as 134a), HCFCs (such as HCFC 141b), PFCs (such as C2F6), as well as declining levels of some of the major CFCs and halogenated solvents. The measurements of those species that are changing rapidly in the troposphere also give direct indications of the age and origin of air entering the stratosphere.

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Tropospheric Wind Lidar Technology Experiment

The TWiLiTE instrument is a compact, rugged direct detection scanning Doppler lidar designed to measure wind profiles in clear air from 18 km to the surface. TWiLiTE operates autonomously on NASA research aircraft (ER-2, DC-8, WB-57, Global Hawk). Initial engineering flight tests on the NASA ER-2 in 2009 demonstrated autonomous operation of all major systems. TWiLiTE will be reconfigured to fly on the NASA Global Hawk as part of the Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel Venture Class Mission.

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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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Nevzorov Liquid Water Content (LWC) and Total Water Content (TWC) Probe

The Nevzorov liquid water content (LWC) and total water content (TWC) probe is a constant-temperature, hot-wire probe designed for aircraft measurements of the ice and liquid water content of clouds. The probe consists of two separate sensors for measurements of cloud liquid and total (ice plus liquid) water content. Each sensor consists of a collector and a reference winding. The reference sensors are shielded from impact with cloud particles, specifically to provide an automatic compensation for convective heat losses.

The sensitivity of the probe is estimated to be approximately 0.003– 0.005 g m23. The accuracy of LWC measurements in nonprecipitating liquid clouds is estimated as 10%–15%. Tests at the NRC high-speed icing tunnel have provided verification of the TWC measurement for small frozen droplets to an accuracy of approximately 10%–20%, but verification in snow and natural ice crystals has not yet been possible due to the absence of any accurate standards. The TWC measurement offers not only the possibility of direct measurements of ice content but also improved liquid water contents in drizzle situations. Airborne measurements have provided data on the baseline drift and sensitivity of the probe and have provided comparisons to other conventional instruments. Several cases have been documented that exhibit the unique capabilities of the instrument to separate the ice and liquid components of supercooled clouds.

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PAN and Trace Hydrohalocarbon ExpeRiment

PANTHER uses Electron Capture Detection and Gas Chromatography (ECD-GC) and Mass Selective Detection and Gas Chromatography (MSD-GC) to measure numerous trace gases, including Methyl halides, HCFCs, PAN, N20, SF6, CFC-12, CFC-11, Halon-1211, methyl chloroform, carbon tetrachloride.

3 ECD (electron capture detectors), packed columns (OV-101, Porpak-Q, molecular sieve).

1 ECD with a TE (thermal electric) cooled RTX-200 capillary column.

2-channel MSD (mass selective detector). The MSD analyses two independent samples concentrated onto TE cooled Haysep traps, then passed through two temperature programmed RTX-624 capillary columns.

With the exception of PAN, all channels of chromatography are normalized to a stable in-flight calibration gas references to NOAA scales. The PAN data is normalized to an in-flight PAN source of ≈ 100 ppt with ±5 % reproducibility. This source is generated by efficient photolytic conversion of NO in the presence of acetone. Detector non-linearity is taken out by lab calibrations for all molecules.

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Radiometric Measurement System

Optics: We employed very simple optical arrangement for the radiometer. The diffuser-light trap arrangement provides a hemispherical field of view with incident radiation being collimated by the high reflectance walls of the exponential-logarithmic cavity. Enough collimation of the radiation is achieved with this design that narrow spectral bandpass interference filters can be used to select desired wavelength regions.

Electronics: The instrument electronics includes five major functional blocks. They are the detectors signal conditioning block, the data processing block, the system controller block, the shadow ring drive and control block, and the data storage block.

The signal detectors are silicon photodiodes operating in the photovoltaic mode and covering the spectral range from about 0.3 to 1.1µm. Their signals are converted into electrical voltages by low noise FET input operational amplifiers. Programmable gain amplifiers allow adjustments for dynamic range, and filter circuits condition the signals for analog to digital processing. Data processing units consist of an analog multiplexer circuit, a sample-and-hold circuit, and an analog to digital converter providing a 12-bit resolution output. The shadow ring is driven by a DC motor rotating at a constant speed. A motor controller is used to maintain motor speed. The system controller provides the timing necessary to perform all the system's tasks. It sets the shadow ring in motion and steps through the detector's outputs, maintaining the proper dynamic range for the analog to digital converter by selecting the proper amplifier gain. It also controls the analog to digital conversion and selectively stores data.

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