Aircraft used for collecting air samples over the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Corpus Christi, Texas (site code TGC). The plane is a Cessna 402.
Since its inception in 1992, the NOAA/ESRL Carbon Cycle Greenhouse Gases (CCGG) group’s aircraft program has been dedicated to collecting air samples in vertical profiles over North America. The program's mission is to capture seasonal and inter-annual changes in trace gas mixing ratios throughout the boundary layer and free troposphere (up to 8000m). At present, most aircraft program flights collect 12 flask samples at different altitudes. These samples are stored in glass flasks for later analysis of Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Carbon Monoxide (CO), Nitrous Oxide (N2O), Methane (CH4), Molecular Hydrogen (H2), and Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF6), as well as isotopes of CO2 and CH4, and multiple Halo- and Hydrocarbons.