Journal cover Journal topic
Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 7, 647-687, 2014
http://www.atmos-meas-tech.net/7/647/2014/
doi:10.5194/amt-7-647-2014
© Author(s) 2014. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
25 Feb 2014
CO2, CO, and CH4 measurements from tall towers in the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory's Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network: instrumentation, uncertainty analysis, and recommendations for future high-accuracy greenhouse gas monitoring efforts
A. E. Andrews1, J. D. Kofler2,1, M. E. Trudeau3,2,1, J. C. Williams4,1, D. H. Neff2,1, K. A. Masarie1, D. Y. Chao2,1, D. R. Kitzis2,1, P. C. Novelli1, C. L. Zhao2,1, E. J. Dlugokencky1, P. M. Lang1, M. J. Crotwell2,1, M. L. Fischer5, M. J. Parker7,6, J. T. Lee8, D. D. Baumann9, A. R. Desai10, C. O. Stanier11, S. F. J. De Wekker12, D. E. Wolfe1, J. W. Munger13, and P. P. Tans1 1NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, CO, USA
2Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA
3Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA
4Science and Technology Corporation, Boulder, CO, USA
5Environmental Energy Technologies Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA, USA
6Savannah River National Laboratory, Aiken, SC, USA
7Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, LLC, Aiken, SC, USA
8Center for Research on Sustainable Forestry, School of Forestry, University of Maine, Orono, ME, USA
9Institute for Applied Ecosystem Studies, US Forest Service Northern Research Station, Rhinelander, WI, USA
10Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA
11Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA
12Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, USA
13School of Engineering and Applied Science, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA
Abstract. A reliable and precise in situ CO2 and CO analysis system has been developed and deployed at eight sites in the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory's (ESRL) Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network. The network uses very tall (> 300 m) television and radio transmitter towers that provide a convenient platform for mid-boundary-layer trace-gas sampling. Each analyzer has three sample inlets for profile sampling, and a complete vertical profile is obtained every 15 min. The instrument suite at one site has been augmented with a cavity ring-down spectrometer for measuring CO2 and CH4. The long-term stability of the systems in the field is typically better than 0.1 ppm for CO2, 6 ppb for CO, and 0.5 ppb for CH4, as determined from repeated standard gas measurements. The instrumentation is fully automated and includes sensors for measuring a variety of status parameters, such as temperatures, pressures, and flow rates, that are inputs for automated alerts and quality control algorithms. Detailed and time-dependent uncertainty estimates have been constructed for all of the gases, and the uncertainty framework could be readily adapted to other species or analysis systems. The design emphasizes use of off-the-shelf parts and modularity to facilitate network operations and ease of maintenance. The systems report high-quality data with > 93% uptime. Recurrent problems and limitations of the current system are discussed along with general recommendations for high-accuracy trace-gas monitoring. The network is a key component of the North American Carbon Program and a useful model for future research-grade operational greenhouse gas monitoring efforts.

Citation: Andrews, A. E., Kofler, J. D., Trudeau, M. E., Williams, J. C., Neff, D. H., Masarie, K. A., Chao, D. Y., Kitzis, D. R., Novelli, P. C., Zhao, C. L., Dlugokencky, E. J., Lang, P. M., Crotwell, M. J., Fischer, M. L., Parker, M. J., Lee, J. T., Baumann, D. D., Desai, A. R., Stanier, C. O., De Wekker, S. F. J., Wolfe, D. E., Munger, J. W., and Tans, P. P.: CO2, CO, and CH4 measurements from tall towers in the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory's Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network: instrumentation, uncertainty analysis, and recommendations for future high-accuracy greenhouse gas monitoring efforts, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 7, 647-687, doi:10.5194/amt-7-647-2014, 2014.
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