The choice of the type of background spectrum affects the credibility of open-path Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (OP/FT-IR) data, and consequently, the quality of data analysis. We systematically investigated several properties of the background spectrum. The results show that a short-path background measured with the lowest amplifier gain could significantly reduce noise in the calculated absorbance spectrum, by at least 30% in our case. We demonstrated that by using a short-path background, data analysis is more resistant to interferences such as wavenumber shift or resolution alteration that occurs as a consequence of aging hardware or misalignment. We discussed a systematic error introduced into quantitative analyses by the short-path background and developed a procedure to correct that error. With this correction approach, a short-path background established five years ago was still found to be valid. By incorporating these findings into the protocol for quantitative analysis, we processed the measurements with two OP/FT-IR instruments set up side by side in the vicinity of a large dairy farm, to monitor NH<sub>3</sub>, CH<sub>4</sub>, and N<sub>2</sub>O. The two sets of calculated concentrations showed high agreement with each other. The findings of our investigations are helpful to atmospheric monitoring practitioners of OP/FT-IR spectroscopy and could also be a reference for future amendments to the protocols outlined in the guidelines of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the American Society for Testing and Materials, and the European Committee for Standardization.

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