Synonyms: 
Atmospheric Tomography Mission
Associated content: 

CU Aircraft High-Resolution Time-of-Flight Aerosol Mass Spectrometer

Principle: The CU aircraft version of the Aerodyne High-Resolution Time-of-Flight Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (HR-ToF-AMS) detects non-refractory submicron aerosol composition by impaction on a vaporizer at 600°C, followed by electron ionization and time-of-flight mass spectral analysis. Size-resolved composition can be quantified by measuring the arrival times of the aerosol at the vaporizer.

Aircraft Operation: (1 min cycles, can be adjusted to meet mission goals):
46 s total concentration measurements (1 s resolution, can be increased to up to 10 Hz upon request)
5 s speciated size distribution measurements (with improved S/N detection due to ePToF acquisition)
9 s Background + Overhead
Higher accuracy due to flight day calibrations using built-in system
Custom pressure controlled inlet with confirmed performance up to 41 kft

Real Time Data Products: 
PM1 Aerosol Mass Concentrations:
Organic aerosol (OA) , SO4, NO3, NH4, Chloride 
OA Chemical Markers: f44 (Secondary OA), f57 (hydrocarbon-like OA), f60 (biomass burning OA), f82 (isoprene epoxide-SOA), other fx upon request

More Advanced Products:
- PM1 Seasalt, ClO4, total I, total Br, MSA concentrations
- O/C, H/C, OA/OC, OSc
- Particle organic nitrates (pRONO2)
- Ammonium Balance, estimated pH
- OA components by positive matrix factorization (PMF)
- Particle eddy covariance fluxes of all species
- Speciated Aerosol size distributions

Detection Limits (1s, ng sm-3), (1 min, ng sm-3) from start of the flight (due to custom cyropump):
Sulfate: 40, 15
Nitrate: 15, 6
Ammonium: 3, 1
Chloride: 30, 12
OA: 200, 80
For detailed OA analysis, longer averaging (3-30 s, depending on OA concentration) is needed. A 1 min product is hence provided as well.

 

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DC-8 - AFRC, C-130 - NSF
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UAS Chromatograph for Atmospheric Trace Species

The Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Chromatograph for Atmospheric Trace Species (UCATS) was designed and built for autonomous operation on pilotless aircraft. It uses chromatography to separate atmospheric trace gases along a narrow heated column, followed by precise and accurate detection with electron capture detectors. There are two chromatographs on UCATS, one of which measures nitrous oxide and sulfur hexafluoride, the other of which measures methane, hydrogen, and carbon monoxide. In addition, there is a small ozone instrument and a tunable diode laser instrument for water vapor. Gas is pumped into the instruments from an inlet below the GV, measured, and vented. UCATS has flown on the Altair UAS, the GV during HIPPO I and II, and most recently on the NASA/NOAA Global Hawk UAS during the Global Hawk Pacific (GloPac) mission, where a record was set for the longest duration research flight (more than 28 hours). UCATS is relatively lightweight and compact, making it ideal for smaller platforms, but it is easily adaptable to a mid-size platform like the GV for HIPPO. The data are used to measure sources and sinks of trace gases involved in climate and air quality, as well as transport through the atmosphere.

UCATS is three different instruments in one enclosure:

1. 2-channel gas chromatograph (GC)
2. Dual-beam ozone photometer (OZ)
3. Tunable diode laser (TDL) spectrometer for water vapor (WV)

Measurements: 
N2O, SF6, CH4, CO, O3, H2, H2O
Aircraft: 
Altair, Global Hawk - AFRC, DC-8 - AFRC, Gulfstream V - NSF, WB-57 - JSC, ER-2 - AFRC
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Soluble Acidic Gases and Aerosols

As part of the measurement team on the NASA DC-8 we operate two related installations: a mist chamber/ion chromatograph (MC/IC) sampling/analysis system providing near real time results for selected species, and a bulk aerosol system that collects particulates onto filters for subsequent analysis. We use ion chromatography on aqueous extracts of the bulk aerosol samples collected on Teflon filters to quantify soluble ions (Cl-, Br-, NO3-, SO42-, C2O42-, Na+, NH4+, K+, Ca+, and Mg+). Filters are exposed on all level flight legs. Below 3 km exposure times are 5 minutes or less, increasing at higher altitudes to a maximum sample time of 15 minutes. Aerosols participate in heterogeneous chemistry, impact radiative transfer, and can be detected from space. Our measurements help to validate and extend retrievals of aerosol distributions and properties by MODIS, MISR and CALIPSO. In addition, several of the particle-associated ions are tracers of sources of gas and aerosol pollutants (e.g., SO42- from industrial emissions of SO2, enhancements of C2O42-, K+, and NH4+ indicate encounters with biomass burning plumes, Na+, and Cl- are tracers of seasalt, Mg2+ and Ca2+ are tracers of dust). Our system has two inlets, allowing collection of paired samples simultaneously.

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Chemical Ionization Mass Spectrometer

The CIMS instrument consists of a low pressure ion molecule reactor (IMR) coupled to a quadrupole mass filter by an actively pumped collisional dissociation chamber (CDC) and an octopole ion guide. The vacuum system is a 100 mm outer diameter stainless steel chamber evacuated with two small turbo pumps (70 l s-1). The mass filter is a set of 9.5 mm diameter quadrupole rods housed in the main vacuum chamber. The CDC is a short 80 mm diameter chamber that houses an octopole ion guide and is evacuated with a hybrid molecular drag pump. The IMR is evacuated with a scroll pump (300 l min-1) that also serves as the backing pump for the mass spectrometer.

Click here for the Collaborative Ground and Airborne Observations description page.

Instrument Type: 
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Aircraft: 
DC-8 - AFRC, Gulfstream V - NSF
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Whole Air Sampler

The UC-Irvine research group collected whole air samples aboard the NASA DC-8 aircraft during the summer 2019 NASA Fire Influence on Regional to Global Environments Experiment - Air Quality (FIREX-AQ) field mission. More than 70 trace gases were identified and quantified at our Irvine laboratory, including C2-C10 NMHCs, C1-C2 halocarbons, C1-C5 alkyl nitrates, and selected sulfur compounds using our established technique of airborne whole air sampling followed by laboratory analysis using gas chromatography (GC) with flame ionization detection (FID), electron capture detection (ECD), and mass spectrometric detection (MSD). Our experimental procedures build on those that have been successfully employed for numerous prior NASA field missions, for example PEM Tropics A and B, TRACE-P, INTEX-A and B, ARCTAS, DC-3, SEAC4RS, ATom, KORUS-AQ, and SARP.

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Single Particle Soot Photometer (NOAA)

The SP2 is a laser-induced incandescence instrument primarily used for measuring the refractory BC  (rBC) mass content of individual accumulation-mode aerosol particles. It is able to provide this data product independently of the total particle morphology and mixing state, and thus delivers detailed information not only about BC loadings, but also size distributions, even in exceptionally clean air. The instrument can also provide the optical size of individual particles containing rBC, and identify the presence of materials associated with the BC fraction (i.e. identify the rBC’s mixing state). Since its introduction in 2003, the SP2 has been substantially improved, and now can be considered a highly competent instrument for assessing BC loadings and mixing state in situ.  NOAA deploys multiple SP2s with different designs: the first was built for the WB-57F research aircraft. Two others are rack-mounted units customized at NOAA; one of the rack mounted units can be humidified, and has been deployed with a paired dry rack-mounted SP2 as the "Humidified-Dual SP2" (HD-SP2). The rack mounted units are suitable for in-cabin operations.

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Particle Analysis By Laser Mass Spectrometry

The NOAA PALMS instrument measures single-particle aerosol composition using UV laser ablation to generate ions that are analyzed with a time-of-flight mass spectrometer.  The PALMS size range is approximately 150 to >3000 nm and encompasses most of the accumulation and coarse mode aerosol volume. Individual aerosol particles are classified into compositional classes.  The size-dependent composition data is combined with aerosol counting instruments from Aerosol Microphysical Properties (AMP), the Langley Aerosol Research Group Experiment (LARGE), and other groups to generate quantitative, composition-resolved aerosol concentrations.  Background tropospheric concentrations of climate-relevant aerosol including mineral dust, sea salt, and biomass burning particles are the primary foci for the ATom campaigns.  PALMS also provides a variety of compositional tracers to identify aerosol sources, probe mixing state, track particle aging, and investigate convective transport and cloud processing.

*_Standard data products_**: *

Particle type number fractions: sulfate/organic/nitrate mixtures, biomass burning, EC, sea salt, mineral dust, meteoric, alkali salts, heavy fuel combustion, and other. Sampling times range from 1-5 mins.

*_Advanced data products_**:*

Number, surface area, volume, and mass concentrations of the above particle types. Total sulfate and organic mass concentrations. Relative and absolute abundance of various chemical markers and aerosol sub-components: methanesulfonic acid, sulfate acidity, organic oxidation level, iodine, bromine, organosulfates, pyridine, and other species.

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PAN and Trace Hydrohalocarbon ExpeRiment

PANTHER uses Electron Capture Detection and Gas Chromatography (ECD-GC) and Mass Selective Detection and Gas Chromatography (MSD-GC) to measure numerous trace gases, including Methyl halides, HCFCs, PAN, N20, SF6, CFC-12, CFC-11, Halon-1211, methyl chloroform, carbon tetrachloride.

3 ECD (electron capture detectors), packed columns (OV-101, Porpak-Q, molecular sieve).

1 ECD with a TE (thermal electric) cooled RTX-200 capillary column.

2-channel MSD (mass selective detector). The MSD analyses two independent samples concentrated onto TE cooled Haysep traps, then passed through two temperature programmed RTX-624 capillary columns.

With the exception of PAN, all channels of chromatography are normalized to a stable in-flight calibration gas references to NOAA scales. The PAN data is normalized to an in-flight PAN source of ≈ 100 ppt with ±5 % reproducibility. This source is generated by efficient photolytic conversion of NO in the presence of acetone. Detector non-linearity is taken out by lab calibrations for all molecules.

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Meteorological Measurement System

The Meteorological Measurement System (MMS) is a state-of-the-art instrument for measuring accurate, high resolution in situ airborne state parameters (pressure, temperature, turbulence index, and the 3-dimensional wind vector). These key measurements enable our understanding of atmospheric dynamics, chemistry and microphysical processes. The MMS is used to investigate atmospheric mesoscale (gravity and mountain lee waves) and microscale (turbulence) phenomena. An accurate characterization of the turbulence phenomenon is important for the understanding of dynamic processes in the atmosphere, such as the behavior of buoyant plumes within cirrus clouds, diffusions of chemical species within wake vortices generated by jet aircraft, and microphysical processes in breaking gravity waves. Accurate temperature and pressure data are needed to evaluate chemical reaction rates as well as to determine accurate mixing ratios. Accurate wind field data establish a detailed relationship with the various constituents and the measured wind also verifies numerical models used to evaluate air mass origin. Since the MMS provides quality information on atmospheric state variables, MMS data have been extensively used by many investigators to process and interpret the in situ experiments aboard the same aircraft.

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Diode Laser Hygrometer

The DLH has been successfully flown during many previous field campaigns on several aircraft, most recently ACTIVATE (Falcon); FIREX-AQ, ATom, KORUS-AQ, and SEAC4RS (DC-8); POSIDON (WB-57); CARAFE (Sherpa); CAMP2Ex and DISCOVER-AQ (P-3); and ATTREX (Global Hawk). This sensor measures water vapor (H2O(v)) via absorption by one of three strong, isolated spectral lines near 1.4 μm and is comprised of a compact laser transceiver and a sheet of high grade retroflecting road sign material to form the optical path. Optical sampling geometry is aircraft-dependent, as each DLH instrument is custom-built to conform to aircraft geometric constraints. Using differential absorption detection techniques, H2O(v) is sensed along the external path negating any potential wall or inlet effects inherent in extractive sampling techniques. A laser power normalization scheme enables the sensor to accurately measure water vapor even when flying through clouds. An algorithm calculates H2O(v) concentration based on the differential absorption signal magnitude, ambient pressure, and temperature, and spectroscopic parameters found in the literature and/or measured in the laboratory. Preliminary water vapor mixing ratio and derived relative humidities are provided in real-time to investigators.

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