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Extremely Fine-Grained Observations of Atmospheric Gasses Water vapor measurements from the VCSEL hygrometer Garnet Abrams October 7, 2011
Outline • Project, affiliations, and motivations • Instrumentation • Water vapor-climate science and feedbacks • Sampling - flight paths and patterns • Preliminary Results
Acronyms • National Science Foundation and National Center for Atmospheric Research funded operation • HIPPO – Highly Instrumented Aerial Platform for Environmental Research (HIAPER) Pole-to-Pole Observations • A series of 5 pole-to-pole flights (N. Pole to S. Pole and back) • Capture each season – January (1), November (II), March-April (III), June (IV), August-September (V), • Instruments on board • Multiple Enclosure Devise for Unfractioned Sampling of Air | MEDUSA • O2, CO2, Ar/N2, 13CO2, C18O16O • Whole Air Sampler | WAS • CFCs, HCFCs, HFCs, Solvents, Methyl Halides, Organic Nitrates, Non-Methane Hydrocarbons, Perflourocarbons; See the comprehensive list of chemical species • Quantum Cascade Laser System | QCLS • CO2, CO, CH4, N2O
Instrument – VCSEL Hygrometer • Operates at 1854 nm • 25 Hz readings • Temperature and pressure probes • Beam makes 25 passes, heaters beneath mirrors • Sits outside the boundary layer of the plane • The only in-situ water vapor instrument on the flight
Water Vapor in the Atmosphere • Water vapor has 4 times the radiative forcing of CO2, however considered a feedback, not anthropogenic source • The warmer the atmosphere, the more water if can hold . . . • Clouds, depending upon their height, color, and time of day can insulate and absorb or reflect solar energy • Clouds pose difficulty for modelers • Water vapor is sticky, making it difficult to measure CLOUDS? http://www.nasa.gov/vision/earth/lookingatearth/warmer_humidity.html
Preliminary Results • Temporal differences just between the beginning and end of June. • Lack of profiling in Southern Pacific on return flight • Sampling avoids extreme convection
Special Thanks • I would like to extend a special thanks to Professor Mark Zondlo, MinghuiDiao, and the Atmospheric Chemistry Lab • GV crew and NCAR researchers