Abstract

Field experiments were conducted to test and evaluate the initial atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) measurement capability of airborne, high-energy, double-pulsed, 2-μm integrated path differential absorption (IPDA) lidar. This IPDA was designed, integrated, and operated at the NASA Langley Research Center on-board the NASA B-200 aircraft. The IPDA was tuned to the CO2 strong absorption line at 2050.9670 nm, which is the optimum for lower tropospheric weighted column measurements. Flights were conducted over land and ocean under different conditions. The first validation experiments of the IPDA for atmospheric CO2 remote sensing, focusing on low surface reflectivity oceanic surface returns during full day background conditions, are presented. In these experiments, the IPDA measurements were validated by comparison to airborne flask air-sampling measurements conducted by the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory. IPDA performance modeling was conducted to evaluate measurement sensitivity and bias errors. The IPDA signals and their variation with altitude compare well with predicted model results. In addition, off-off-line testing was conducted, with fixed instrument settings, to evaluate the IPDA systematic and random errors. Analysis shows an altitude-independent differential optical depth offset of 0.0769. Optical depth measurement uncertainty of 0.0918 compares well with the predicted value of 0.0761. IPDA CO2 column measurement compares well with model-driven, near-simultaneous air-sampling measurements from the NOAA aircraft at different altitudes. With a 10-s shot average, CO2 differential optical depth measurement of 1.0054±0.0103 was retrieved from a 6-km altitude and a 4-GHz on-line operation. As compared to CO2 weighted-average column dry-air volume mixing ratio of 404.08 ppm, derived from air sampling, IPDA measurement resulted in a value of 405.22±4.15  ppm with 1.02% uncertainty and 0.28% additional bias. Sensitivity analysis of environmental systematic errors correlates the additional bias to water vapor. IPDA ranging resulted in a measurement uncertainty of <3  m.

© 2016 Optical Society of America

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