Core Atmospheric Tracers

The Core Atmospheric Tracers team, part of the In-Situ Photochemical Tracer Measurements group, provides several airborne tracer measurements to a broad range of NSF LAOF supported field campaigns. These are part of a full complement of ACOM-supported instrumentation that may be requested through the NSF Lower Atmospheric Observing Facilities Program.

Our measurements of CO, CO2, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone and water vapor are frequently requested for experiments investigating photochemical, industrial and combustion processes in natural environments and the anthropocene, and local and regional explorations of processes affecting air quality. Several of the core tracer measurements also are requested for experiments having scientific objectives that do not explicitly include atmospheric chemical processes. Examples include investigations of climate and other global scale composition changes, upper troposphere and lower stratospheric dynamical processes, severe weather and other meteorological phenomena, cloud physics processes, and boundary layer microphysical processes. The suite of core tracers has been chosen for broad applicability and are among the most frequently requested NSF community in-situ measurements.  

The HAIS chemiluminescence ozone instrument continues to provide high quality and fast time response (5-Hz) ozone measurements.

Two new instrument improvements were recently implemented:

A Picarro G2401-mc WS-CRDS instrument, acquired in 2017 and modified to add high altitude operation, provide high precision measurements of carbon dioxide and methane. Two additional channels provides medium precision carbon monoxide and water vapor quantification.

An Aerodyne CO, N2O and H2O QCL TILDAS instrument was acquired in 2017 and subsequently configured to optimize the accuracy of airborne measurements. 

Both new instruments underwent extensive laboratory, altitude chamber and flight testing, and were first deployed during the 2018 WE-CAN experiment.


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Core Atmospheric Tracers