Measurement campaign for obtaining atmospheric vertical profiles of greenhouse gases from an aircraft chartered by the MUSICA and AMISOC projects

From 21th July to 1st August 2013, the INTA’s research aircraft C-212 carried out 7 scientific flights above the ocean to the south of the Izaña Atmospheric Observatory. These flights were funded by the research projects MUSICA (led by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology; click here to know more about it) and AMISOC (led by INTA; click here to know more about it) and freighted on board instrumentation of both projects (for the measurement of isotopes in water vapour and of aerosols).

The Izaña Atmospheric Research Center of the Meteorological State Agency of Spain (AEMET) took the opportunity to install on board the aircraft by first time a quasi automatic air sampler. In each flight, the sampler was used to take twelve air samples from different altitudes uniformly distributed from the 150 metres level to the 6500 metres level above see level. The greenhouse gases content of these samples has been analysed latter at Izaña Observatory using the instrumentation of the Izaña Atmospheric Research Center for the high precise and accurate measurement of greenhouse gases mole fractions. This is the first time that greenhouse gases atmospheric vertical profiles are measured in the surroundings of Canarias.



Quasi automatic air sampler of the Izaña Atmospheric Research Center installed on board the INTA´s research aircraft C-212.

Within the greenhouse gases and carbon cycle in situ measurement programme of the Izaña Atmospheric Research Center, free troposphere mole fractions are continuously measured for: carbon dioxide and methane (since 1984), nitrous oxide and sulphur hexafluoride (since 2007), and carbon monoxide (since 2008). The Izaña Atmospheric Research Center adapted these measurement systems to be able to measure also discrete samples collected on board aircrafts using a quasi continuous sampler. This has made possible to obtain by first time the atmospheric vertical profiles indicated in the previous paragraph.

Left: detail of the interior of one of the packages that contain flasks where the air samples collected on board the aircraft are stored. Right: picture that shows part of the system installed at Izaña Atmospheric Research Center for extracting the air samples from the packages (that contain the flasks) and distributing them to the different Izaña in situ instruments to measure them.

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