Synonyms: 
DC8
DC-8
NASA DC8
NASA DC-8 -AFRC
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Chemical Ionization Mass Spectrometer

The NOAA chemical ionization mass spectrometer (CIMS) instrument was developed for high-precision measurements of gaseous nitric acid (HNO3) specifically under high- and variable-humidity conditions in the boundary layer. The instrument’s background signals (i.e., signals detected when HNO3-free air is measured), which depend on the humidity and HNO3 concentration of the sample air, are the most important factor affecting the limit of detection (LOD). A new system to provide HNO3-free air without changing both the humidity and the pressure of the sampled air was developed to measure the background level accurately. The detection limit was about 23 parts per trillion by volume (pptv) for 50-s averages. Field tests, including an intercomparison with the diffusion scrubber technique, were carried out at a surface site in Tokyo, Japan, in October 2003 and June 2004. A comparison between the measured concentrations of HNO3 and particulate nitrate indicated that the interference from particulate nitrate was not detectable (i.e., less than about 1%). The intercomparison indicated that the two independent measurements of HNO3 agreed to within the combined uncertainties of these measurements.

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2D-S Stereo Probe

The 2D-S Stereo Probe is an optical imaging instrument that obtains stereo cloud particle images and concentrations using linear array shadowing. Two diode laser beams cross at right angles and illuminate two linear 128-photodiode arrays. The lasers are single-mode, temperature-stabilized, fiber-coupled diode lasers operating at 45 mW. The optical paths are arbitrarily labeled the “vertical” and “horizontal” probe channels, but the verticality of each channel actually depends on how the probe is oriented on an aircraft. The imaging optical system is based on a Keplerian telescope design having a (theoretical) primary system magnification of 5X, which results in a theoretical effective size of (42.5 µm + 15 µm)/5 = 11.5 µm. However, actual lenses and arrays have tolerances, so it is preferable to measure the actual effective pixel size by dropping several thousands of glass beads with known diameters through the object plane of the optics system.

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Autonomous Modular Sensor

The Autonomous Modular Sensor (AMS) is an airborne scanning spectrometer that acquires high spatial resolution imagery of the Earth's features from its vantage point on-board low and medium altitude research aircraft. Data acquired by AMS is helping to define, develop, and test algorithms for use in a variety of scientific programs that emphasize the use of remotely sensed data to monitor variation in environmental conditions, assess global change, and respond to natural disasters.

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14-channel NASA Ames Airborne Tracking Sunphotometer

AATS-14 measures direct solar beam transmission at 14 wavelengths between 354 and 2139 nm in narrow channels with bandwidths between 2 and 5.6 nm for the wavelengths less than 1640 nm and 17.3 nm for the 2139 nm channel. The transmission measurements at all channels except 940 nm are used to retrieve spectra of aerosol optical depth (AOD). In addition, the transmission at 940 nm and surrounding channels is used to derive columnar water vapor (CWV) [Livingston et al., 2008]. Methods for AATS-14 data reduction, calibration, and error analysis have been described extensively, for example, by Russell et al. [2007] and Shinozuka et al. [2011]. AATS-14 measurements of spectral AOD and CWV obtained during aircraft vertical profiles can be differentiated to determine corresponding vertical profiles of spectral aerosol extinction and water vapor density. Such measurements have been used extensively in the characterization of the horizontal and vertical distribution of aerosol optical properties and in the validation of satellite aerosol sensors. For example, in the Aerosol Characterization Experiment-Asia (ACE-Asia), AATS measurements were used for closure (consistency) studies with in situ aerosol samplers aboard the NCAR C-130 and the CIRPAS Twin-Otter aircraft, and with ground-based lidar systems. In ACE-Asia, CLAMS (Chesapeake Lighthouse & Aircraft Measurements for Satellites, 2001), the Extended-MODIS-λ Validation Experiment (EVE), INTEX-A, INTEX-B, and ARCTAS, AATS results have been used in the validation of satellite sensors aboard various EOS platforms, providing important aerosol information used in the improvement of retrieval algorithms for the MISR and MODIS sensors among others.

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Charged-coupled device Actinic Flux Spectroradiometers

The Charged-coupled device Actinic Flux Spectroradiometers (CAFS) instruments measure in situ down- and up-welling radiation and combine to provide 4 pi steradian actinic flux density spectra from 280 to 650 nm. The sampling resolution is ~0.8 nm with a full width at half maximum (FWHM) of 1.7 nm at 297 nm. From the measured flux, photolysis frequencies are calculated for ~40 important atmospheric trace gases including O3, NO2, HCHO, HONO and NO3 using a modified version of the NCAR Tropospheric Ultraviolet and Visible (TUV) radiative transfer model. The absolute spectral sensitivity of the instruments is determined in the laboratory with 1000 W NIST-traceable tungsten-halogen lamps with a wavelength dependent uncertainty of 3–5%. During deployments, spectral sensitivity is assessed with secondary calibration lamps while wavelength assignment is tracked with Hg line sources and comparisons to spectral features in the extraterrestrial flux. The optical collectors are characterized for angular and azimuthal response and the effective planar receptor distance. CAFS have an excellent legacy of performance on the NASA DC-8 and WB-57 platforms during atmospheric chemistry and satellite validation mission. These include AVE Houston 2004 and 2005, PAVE, CR-AVE, TC4, ARCTAS, DC3, SEAC4RS, KORUS-AQ, ATom and FIREX-AQ. For FIREX-AQ, upgraded electronics and cooling reduced noise and allowed for a decrease to 1 Hz acquisition.

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Chemical Ionization Mass Spectrometer

The single mass analyzer CIMS (S-CIMS) was developed for use on NASA’s ER-2 aircraft. Its first measurements were made in 2000 (SOLVE). Subsequently, it has flown on the NASA DC-8 aircraft for INTEX-NA, DICE, TC4, and ARCTAS, as well as on the NCAR C-130 during MILAGRO/INTEX-B. HNO3 is measured by selective ion chemical ionization via the fluoride transfer reaction: CF3O- + HNO3 → HF • NO3- + CF2O In addition to its fast reaction rate with HNO3, CF3O- can be used to measure additional acids and nitrates as well as SO2 [Amelynck et al., 2000; Crounse et al., 2006; Huey et al., 1996]. We have further identified CF3O- chemistry as useful for the measurement of less acidic species via clustering reactions [Crounse et al., 2006; Paulot et al., 2009a; Paulot et al., 2009b; St. Clair et al., 2010]: CF3O- + HX → CF3O- • HX where, e.g., HX = HCN, H2O2, CH3OOH, CH3C(O)OOH (PAA) The mass analyzer of the S-CIMS instrument has recently been upgraded from a quadrupole to a time-of-flight (ToF) analyzer. The ToF admits the sample ion beam to the ion extractor, where a pulse of high voltage orthogonally deflects and accelerates the ions into the reflectron, which in turn redirects the ions toward the multichannel plate detector. Ions in the ToF follow a V-shaped, 43 cm path from extractor to detector, separating by mass as the smaller ions are accelerated to greater velocities by the high voltage pulse. The detector collects the ions as a function of time following each extractor pulse. The rapid-scan collection of the ToF guarantees a high temporal resolution (1 Hz or faster) and simultaneous data products from the S-CIMS instrument for all mass channels [Drewnick et al., 2005]. We have flown a tandem CIMS (TCIMS) instrument in addition to the SCIMS since INTEX-B (2006). The T-CIMS provides parent-daughter mass analysis, enabling measurement of compounds precluded from quantification by the S-CIMS due to mass interferences (e.g. MHP) or the presence of isobaric compounds (e.g. isoprene oxidation products) [Paulot et al., 2009b; St. Clair et al., 2010]. Calibrations of both CIMS instruments for HNO3 and organic acids are performed in flight using isotopically-labeled reagents evolved from a thermally-stabilized permeation tube oven [Washenfelder et al., 2003]. By using an isotopically labeled standard, the product ion signals are distinct from the natural analyte and calibration can be performed at any time without adversely affecting the ambient measurement. We also fly calibration standards for H2O2 (evolved from urea-hydrogen peroxide) and MHP (from a diffusion vial).

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Airborne Coherent Lidar for Advanced In-flight Measurements

ACLAIM is a 2-micron lidar operating at 100 pulses per second using an 8 cm diameter expanded beam. It was developed for advanced turbulence detection with applications to supersonic inlet control, mitigation of aircraft gust response and aircrew / passenger warning for improved seatbelt utilization.

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Cloud, Aerosol, and Precipitation Spectrometer

This multipurpose particle spectrometer includes three Droplet Measurement Technologies instruments plus temperature and relative humidity sensors that are packaged into a single, integrated measurement system. The CAPS provides the following data:

- Aerosol particle and cloud hydrometeor size distributions from 0.51 to 50 µm

- Precipitation size distributions from 25 µm to 1550 µm, or 15-930 um with optional 15-micron resolution

- Particle optical properties (refractive index)

- Particle shape assessments (discrimination between water and ice for probes with depolarization feature)

- Liquid water content from 0.01 to 3 g/m3

- Aircraft velocity

- Atmospheric temperature and pressure

This instrument replaces the older PMS/PMI FSSP-100, FSSP-300, 2D-C, 2D-P and KLWC and can be used in many applications, including weather modification, aircraft icing, hurricane and storm research, and agricultural and industrial spray characterization.

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Airborne Topographic Mapper

The Airborne Topographic Mapper (ATM) is a scanning LIDAR developed and used by NASA for observing the Earth's topography for several scientific applications, foremost of which is the measurement of changing arctic and antarctic icecaps and glaciers. It typically flies on aircraft at an altitude between 400 and 800 meters above ground level, and measures topography to an accuracy of ten to twenty centimeters by incorporating measurements from GPS (global positioning system) receivers and inertial navigation system (INS) attitude sensors.

The ATM instruments are based at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility (WFF) in Virginia. They commonly fly aboard the NASA P3-B based at WFF and have flown aboard other P-3 aircraft, the NASA DC-8, several twin-otters (DHC-6), and a C-130; they can fly on most Twin Otter/King Air-class aircraft. The ATM has flown surveys in Greenland nearly every year since 1993. Other uses have included measurement of sea ice, verification of satellite radar and laser altimeters, and measurement of sea-surface elevation and ocean wave characteristics. The altimeter often flies in conjunction with a variety of other instruments. The ATM has been participating in NASA's Operation IceBridge since 2009.

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William Krabill (Prev PI)

Airborne Laser Isotope Spectrometer

Isotopic CO2 measurements have been identified as an important component of NASA's Earth Science Enterprise's Carbon Cycle Initiative as part of its program in global climate change. The isotopic composition of atmospheric CO2, and especially its 13CO2/ 12CO2 ratio, is an established tool for understanding the details of the global carbon cycle, since this ratio can distinguish between oceanic and terrestrial biospheric sinks of CO2.

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