Atmospheric Composition & Chemical Processes: Instruments

InstrumentAbbreviationDescription
Single Particle Soot Photometer SP2 The Single Particle Soot Photometer (SP2) is an aerosol instrument that quantifies the refractory black carbon (rBC) mass and mixing-state of individual rBC-containing particles. Black carbon is the aerosol material most responsible for absorption of visible solar radiation, and thus impacts global climate in important ways. The SP2 is the only instrument that can practically provide this kind of information even in extremely clean air. The SP2 has been deployed on the NOAA WP-3D low altitude research aircraft, the NSF/NCAR High Altitude Platform for Environmental Research GV, and the NASA WB-57F high altitude aircraft, quantifying rBC in US urban areas as well as over vast stretches of the globe. Contacts: Joshua Schwarz, David Fahey, Ru-Shan Gao, Ryan Spackman, Anne Perring, Laurel Watts, Steve Ciciora inside of SP2 SP2 in the rack on the P3
Water Vapor Chemical Ionization Mass Spectrometer WV-CIMS Water vapor in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UT/LS) plays a critical role in atmospheric radiative balance, cirrus cloud formation, and photochemical processes. Dehydration processes in the UT reduce water vapor mixing ratios to low part per million (ppm) values and limit the large-scale transport of water into the stratosphere, with implications for stratospheric temperature and ozone chemistry. Measurement of UT/LS water vapor at low ppm levels is difficult and large measurement differences among existing instruments have limited our ability to quantify water vapor distribution and trends in this important region of the atmosphere. The Water Vapor Chemical Ionization Mass Spectrometer (WV-CIMS) represents a new application of a very sensitive analytical technique designed specifically to precisely and accurately measure the low water vapor mixing ratios in the UT/LS from high altitude research aircraft. The first deployment of the WV-CIMS was spring 2011. Contacts: Troy Thornberry, David Fahey, Ru-Shan Gao, Laurel Watts, Steve Ciciora, Andrew Rollins SP2 and CIMS ready for aircraft installation
Ozone Photometer O3 Ozone (O3) in the lower stratosphere (LS) is responsible for absorbing much of the biologically damaging ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sunlight, and thus plays a critical role in protecting Earth's environment. By absorbing UV light, O3 heats the surrounding air, leading to the vertical stratification and dynamic stability that define the stratosphere. Manmade halogen compounds, such as CFCs, cause significant damage to the O3 layer in the LS and lead to the formation of the Antarctic ozone hole. Accurate measurement of O3 in the LS is the first step toward understanding and protecting stratospheric O3. The Ozone Photometer was designed specifically for autonomous, precise, and accurate O3 measurements in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UT/LS). Flown for thousands of hours onboard the NASA ER-2, NASA WB-57F, and NSF GV high-altitude aircraft, this instrument has played a key role in improving our understanding of O3 photochemistry in the UT/LS. Furthermore, its accurate data has been used, and continues to be highly sought after, for satellite validation, and studies of radiation balance, stratosphere-troposphere exchange, and air parcel mixing. Contacts: Ru-Shan Gao, David Fahey, Troy Thornberry, Laurel Watts, Steve Ciciora SP2 over O3 installed on the aircraft SP2 over O3 on the cart in the lab
UAS Ozone Photometer UAS O3 Ozone (O3) in the lower stratosphere (LS) is responsible for absorbing much of the biologically damaging ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sunlight, and thus plays a critical role in protecting Earth's environment. By absorbing UV light, O3 heats the surrounding air, leading to the vertical stratification and dynamic stability that define the stratosphere. Manmade halogen compounds, such as CFCs, cause significant damage to the O3 layer in the LS and lead to the formation of the Antarctic ozone hole. Accurate measurement of O3 in the LS is the first step toward understanding and protecting stratospheric O3. The UAS Ozone Photometer was designed specifically for autonomous, precise, and accurate O3 measurements in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UT/LS) onboard the NASA Global Hawk Unmanned Aircraft System (GH UAS). With a data rate of 2 Hz, the instrument can provide high-time-resolution, detailed information for studies of O3 photochemistry, radiation balance, stratosphere-troposphere exchange, and air parcel mixing in the UT/LS. Furthermore, its accurate data are used for satellite validations. The quality of the data produced by the UAS Ozone Photometer, combined with the long range and endurance of the GH UAS, make it particularly valuable for satellite measurement validation. Contacts: Ru-Shan Gao, David Fahey, Troy Thornberry, Laurel Watts, Steve Ciciora UAS O3