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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2017-398
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
10 Nov 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).
The NASA Carbon Airborne Flux Experiment (CARAFE): Instrumentation and Methodology
Glenn M. Wolfe1,2, S. Randy Kawa1, Thomas F. Hanisco1, Reem A. Hannun1,2, Paul A. Newman1, Andrew Swanson1,3, Steve Bailey1, John Barrick4, K. Lee Thornhill4, Glenn Diskin4, Josh DiGangi4, John B. Nowak4, Carl Sorenson5, Geoffrey Bland6, James K. Yungel7, and Craig A. Swenson8 1Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Lab, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA
2Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD, USA
3Goddard Earth Sciences Technology and Research, Universities Space Research Association, Columbia, MD, USA
4NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA, USA
5NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, USA
6Wallops Flight Facility, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Wallops Island, VA, USA
7AECOM, ATM Project, Wallops Flight Facility, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Wallops Island, VA, USA
8SSAI, ATM Project, Wallops Flight Facility, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Wallops Island, VA, USA
Abstract. The exchange of trace gases between the Earth’s surface and its atmosphere drives atmospheric composition. Airborne eddy covariance can provide observational constraints on surface fluxes at regional scales, helping to bridge the gap between top-down and bottom-up flux estimates and offering novel insights into biophysical and biogeochemical processes. The NASA Carbon Airborne Flux Experiment (CARAFE) utilizes the NASA C-23 Sherpa aircraft with a suite of commercial and custom instrumentation to acquire fluxes of carbon dioxide, methane, sensible heat, and latent heat at high spatial resolution. Key components of the CARAFE payload are described, including the meteorological, greenhouse gas, water vapor, and surface imaging systems. Continuous wavelet transforms deliver spatially-resolved fluxes along aircraft flight tracks. Flux analysis methodology is discussed in depth, with special emphasis on evaluation of uncertainties and vertical flux divergence. CARAFE has successfully flown two missions in the Eastern U.S. in 2016 and 2017, quantifying fluxes over forest, cropland, wetlands, and water. Results from these campaigns highlight the performance of this system and its potential to further our understanding of ecosystem exchange.

Citation: Wolfe, G. M., Kawa, S. R., Hanisco, T. F., Hannun, R. A., Newman, P. A., Swanson, A., Bailey, S., Barrick, J., Thornhill, K. L., Diskin, G., DiGangi, J., Nowak, J. B., Sorenson, C., Bland, G., Yungel, J. K., and Swenson, C. A.: The NASA Carbon Airborne Flux Experiment (CARAFE): Instrumentation and Methodology, Atmos. Meas. Tech. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2017-398, in review, 2017.
Glenn M. Wolfe et al.
Glenn M. Wolfe et al.
Glenn M. Wolfe et al.

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Short summary
The abundance of carbon dioxide and methane – both potent greenhouse gases – is largely driven by their emission and uptake, or flux, at Earth’s surface. We describe a new NASA airborne system for directly observing fluxes of greenhouse gases over regional scales. Quantification of source and sink rates can provide powerful new constraints on emission inventories and model parameterizations over forest, croplands, wetlands, urban areas, and other ecosystems.
The abundance of carbon dioxide and methane – both potent greenhouse gases – is largely...
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