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Frost Point (NOAA)

The NOAA frost point instrument was designed to run unattended under the wing of NASA’s WB-57. An aircraft rated Stirling cooler provides cooling to 100 K. The cooler avoids consumables and provides a large temperature gradient that improves the response time. The vertical pylon houses the optics and provides aerodynamic pumping of the sample volume. At the bottom of the pylon there is a boundary layer plate and a vertical inlet that separates particles larger than 0.2 microns from the sampled air. There are two channels that use blue LEDs and scattered light to detect frost on the mirrors. Diamond mirrors are used for low thermal mass and high conductivity. The two channels are to be used to understand frost characteristics under flight conditions. High flow rates are used to decrease the shear boundary layer to facilitate diffusion through the boundary layer to the mirrors.

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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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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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Scanning High-Resolution Interferometer Sounder

The Scanning High-resolution Interferometer Sounder (S-HIS) is a scanning interferometer which measures emitted thermal radiation at high spectral resolution between 3.3 and 18 microns The measured emitted radiance is used to obtain temperature and water vapor profiles of the Earth's atmosphere in clear-sky conditions. S-HIS produces sounding data with 2 kilometer resolution (at nadir) across a 40 kilometer ground swath from a nominal altitude of 20 kilometers onboard a NASA ER-2 or Global Hawk.

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Scanning Actinic Flux Spectroradiometers

The SAFS instruments determine wavelength dependent actinic flux from 280-420 nm. The actinic flux in combination with the absorption cross section and quantum yield molecular data will be used to calculate the photolysis frequencies of multiple photochemically important molecular processes, including O3, NO2, HONO, CH2O, H2O2, CH3OOH, HNO3, PAN, CH3NO3, CH3CH2NO3, and CH3COCH3.

The SAFS measurement is based on a 2p steradian hemisphere hemispherical quartz light collector, a double monochromator, and a low dark current photomultiplier. The monochromator employs dual 2400 G/mm gratings which produce a 1 nm FWHM spectral resolution and very low straylight. The instrument package on the aircraft includes two independent, but time synchronized (IRIG-B) spectroradiometer systems to measure the up- and down-welling fluxes in a 10 second scan time. Summing these produces the spherically integrated actinic flux.

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Research Environment for Vehicle-Embedded Analysis on Linux

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NOAA Pressure and Temperature

In order to make an accurate temperature and pressure measurement, a Weston digital pressure temperature transducer is used to measure both static and ram pressure. These transducers are accurate to within +/- 0.01 % of full-scale or +/- 0.1 mbar. When the aircraft was manufactured, two ports on either side of the aircraft were placed at positions where the air moving across the skin is perpendicular to the port. These ports are connected together and to the static pressure transducer. The ram pressure measurement consists of a forward-looking tube with a wideangle opening connected to the ram pressure transducer. The ram pressure is calculated by subtracting the static pressure from this measurement.

The temperature probes consist of a slow and fast responding type 102 probe from Goodyear Aerospace Corporation. The platinum wire temperature sensor in the type 102 probe is calibrated to less than +/- 0.1 degree.

Data is gathered once every second from these probes using a custom data system. The Weston pressure transducers are held at a constant temperature of 50 degrees Celsius in order to reduce temperature effects on the measurement and in order to prevent condensation within the sensor. The analog to digital converters are also held at a relatively constant temperature, and a thousand samples from each channel is averaged each second. This over sampling results in a precision of 0.03 degrees in temperature and 0.03 mbars in pressure. We estimate the total accuracy of these measurements in flight to be +/- 0.5 degrees for temperature and +/- 0.5 mb for pressure.

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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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Michael Reeves (Prev PI)

MODIS Airborne Simulator

The MODIS Airborne Simulator (MAS) is a multispectral scanner configured to approximate the Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MODIS), an instrument to be orbited on the NASA EOS-AM1 platform. MODIS is designed to measure terrestrial and atmospheric processes. The MAS was a joint project of Daedalus Enterprises, Berkeley Camera Engineering, and Ames Research Center. The MODIS Airborne Simulator records fifty spectral bands.

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Harvard Integrated Cavity Output Spectroscopy

The Harvard CRDS/ICOS instrument is an absorption spectrometer that uses the relatively new and highly sensitive techniques of integrated cavity output spectroscopy (ICOS) and cavity ringdown spectroscopy (CRDS) with a high-finesse optical cavity and a cw quantum cascade laser (QCL) source. The primary spectroscopic technique employed is ICOS, in which intra-cavity absorption is measured from the steady-state output of the cavity. Light from a high power, tunable, single mode, solid-state laser source is coupled into a cavity consisting of two concave, highly reflective mirrors (R ≈ 0.9999), through which air continuously flows. The laser is scanned over a spectral region of 1–2 cm-1 containing an absorption feature, and the cavity output is detected by an LN2-cooled HgCdTe detector. The resultant output approximates an absorption spectrum with an effective pathlength of > 5 km, far greater than that of standard multipass Herriott or White cells.

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