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https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2017-207
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
07 Nov 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).
COCAP: A carbon dioxide analyser for small unmanned aircraft systems
Martin Kunz1, Jost V. Lavric1, Christoph Gerbig1, Pieter Tans2, Don Neff2, Christine Hummelgård3, Hans Martin3, Henrik Rödjegård3, Burkhard Wrenger4, and Martin Heimann1,5 1Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Jena, Germany
2NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, Global Monitoring Division, Boulder, Colorado, USA
3SenseAir AB, Delsbo, Sweden
4Ostwestfalen-Lippe University of Applied Sciences, Hoexter, Germany
5Division of Atmospheric Sciences, Department of Physics, University of Helsinki, Finland
Abstract. Abstract Unmanned aerial systems (UAS) could provide a cost-effective way to close gaps in the observation of the carbon cycle, provided that small yet accurate analysers are available. We have developed a COmpact Carbon dioxide analyser for Airborne Platforms (COCAP). The accuracy of COCAP's carbon dioxide (CO2) measurements is ensured by calibration in an environmental chamber, regular calibration in the field and by chemical drying of sampled air. In addition, the package contains a lightweight thermal stabilisation system that reduces the influence of ambient temperature changes on the CO2 sensor by two orders of magnitude. During validation of COCAP's CO2 measurements in simulated and real flights we found a measurement error of 1.2 μmol mol−1 or better with no indication of bias. COCAP is a self-contained package that has proven well suited for the operation on board small UAS. Besides carbon dioxide dry air mole fraction it also measures air temperature, humidity and pressure. We describe the measurement system and our calibration strategy in detail to support others in tapping the potential of UAS for atmospheric trace gas measurements.

Citation: Kunz, M., Lavric, J. V., Gerbig, C., Tans, P., Neff, D., Hummelgård, C., Martin, H., Rödjegård, H., Wrenger, B., and Heimann, M.: COCAP: A carbon dioxide analyser for small unmanned aircraft systems, Atmos. Meas. Tech. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2017-207, in review, 2017.
Martin Kunz et al.
Martin Kunz et al.
Martin Kunz et al.

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Short summary
Unmanned aircraft could provide a cost-effective way to close gaps in the observation of the carbon cycle, provided that small yet accurate analysers are available. We have developed a COmpact Carbon dioxide analyser for Airborne Platforms (COCAP). During validation of its CO2 measurements in simulated and real flights we found a measurement error of 1.2 μmol mol−1 or better with no indication of bias. COCAP is a self-contained package that has proven well suited for the operation on board small UAS.
Unmanned aircraft could provide a cost-effective way to close gaps in the observation of the...
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