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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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Atmos. Meas. Tech., 10, 2383-2395, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-10-2383-2017
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
03 Jul 2017
Evaluation and environmental correction of ambient CO2 measurements from a low-cost NDIR sensor
Cory R. Martin1, Ning Zeng1,2, Anna Karion3, Russell R. Dickerson1,2, Xinrong Ren1,4, Bari N. Turpie1, and Kristy J. Weber1,a 1Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
2Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
3National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD 20899, USA
4Air Resources Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, College Park, MD 20740, USA
anow at: Department of Geography, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
Abstract. Non-dispersive infrared (NDIR) sensors are a low-cost way to observe carbon dioxide concentrations in air, but their specified accuracy and precision are not sufficient for some scientific applications. An initial evaluation of six SenseAir K30 carbon dioxide NDIR sensors in a lab setting showed that without any calibration or correction, the sensors have an individual root mean square error (RMSE) between  ∼ 5 and 21 parts per million (ppm) compared to a research-grade greenhouse gas analyzer using cavity enhanced laser absorption spectroscopy. Through further evaluation, after correcting for environmental variables with coefficients determined through a multivariate linear regression analysis, the calculated difference between the each of six individual K30 NDIR sensors and the higher-precision instrument had an RMSE of between 1.7 and 4.3 ppm for 1 min data. The median RMSE improved from 9.6 for off-the-shelf sensors to 1.9 ppm after correction and calibration, demonstrating the potential to provide useful information for ambient air monitoring.

Citation: Martin, C. R., Zeng, N., Karion, A., Dickerson, R. R., Ren, X., Turpie, B. N., and Weber, K. J.: Evaluation and environmental correction of ambient CO2 measurements from a low-cost NDIR sensor, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 10, 2383-2395, https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-10-2383-2017, 2017.
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Short summary
A low-cost sensor for measuring carbon dioxide is evaluated for its performance in detecting concentrations in Earth's atmosphere. After a multivariate regression correcting for environmental variables, the root mean square error between it and a research-grade gas analyzer is less than 0.5 % of the observed average value. This demonstrates the viability for using these sensors in certain real-world atmospheric observing applications.
A low-cost sensor for measuring carbon dioxide is evaluated for its performance in detecting...
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