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Volume 5, issue 9
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 5, 2309–2319, 2012
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-5-2309-2012
© Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 5, 2309–2319, 2012
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-5-2309-2012
© Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 27 Sep 2012

Research article | 27 Sep 2012

Greenhouse gas measurements over a 144 km open path in the Canary Islands

J. S. A. Brooke1, P. F. Bernath1,2, G. Kirchengast3, C. B. Thomas1, J.-G. Wang1, K. A. Tereszchuk1, G. González Abad1, R. J. Hargreaves1, C. A. Beale1, J. J. Harrison1, S. Schweitzer3, V. Proschek3, P. A. Martin4, V. L. Kasyutich4, C. Gerbig5, O. Kolle5, and A. Loescher6 J. S. A. Brooke et al.
  • 1Department of Chemistry, University of York, York, YO10 5DD, UK
  • 2Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA 23529, USA
  • 3Wegener Center for Climate and Global Change and IGAM/Inst. of Physics, University of Graz, Brandhofgasse 5, 8010 Graz, Austria
  • 4School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL, UK
  • 5Biogeochemical Systems Department, MPI for Biogeochemistry, Hans-Knöll-Str. 10, 07745 Jena, Germany
  • 6Earth Observation Future Mission (EOP-SFP), ESA/ESTEC, P.O. Box 299, 2200 AG, Noordwijk, The Netherlands

Abstract. A new technique for the satellite remote sensing of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere via the absorption of short-wave infrared laser signals transmitted between counter-rotating satellites in low Earth orbit has recently been proposed; this would enable the acquisition of a long-term, stable, global set of altitude-resolved concentration measurements. We present the first ground-based experimental demonstration of this new infrared-laser occultation method, in which the atmospheric absorption of CO2 near 2.1 μm was measured over a ~144 km path length between two peaks in the Canary Islands (at an altitude of ~2.4 km), using relatively low power diode lasers (~4 to 10 mW). The retrieved CO2 volume mixing ratio of 400 ppm (±15 ppm) is consistent within experimental uncertainty with simultaneously recorded in situ validation measurements. We conclude that the new method has a sound basis for monitoring CO2 in the free atmosphere; other greenhouse gases such as methane, nitrous oxide and water vapour can be monitored in the same way.

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