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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2019-108
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2019-108
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 14 May 2019

Research article | 14 May 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).

Recent advances in measurement techniques for atmospheric carbon monoxide and nitrous oxide observations

Christoph Zellweger1, Rainer Steinbrecher2, Olivier Laurent3, Haeyoung Lee4, Sumin Kim4, Lukas Emmenegger1, Martin Steinbacher1, and Brigitte Buchmann5 Christoph Zellweger et al.
  • 1Empa, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, Laboratory for Air Pollution/Environmental Technology, 8600 Dübendorf, Switzerland
  • 2Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research (IMK-IFU), Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
  • 3Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement (LSCE/IPSL), UMR CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, Gif-sur-Yvette, France
  • 4National Institute of Meteorological Sciences (NIMS), Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do, Korea
  • 5Empa, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, Department Mobility, Energy and Environment, 8600 Dübendorf, Switzerland

Abstract. Carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrous oxide (N2O) are two key parameters in the observation of the atmosphere, relevant for air quality and climate change, respectively. For CO, various analytical techniques have been in use over the last few decades. In contrast, N2O was mainly measured using gas chromatography (GC) with electron capture detector (ECD). In recent years, new spectroscopic methods have become available which are suitable for both CO and N2O. These include Infra-Red (IR) spectroscopic techniques such as Cavity Ring Down Spectroscopy (CRDS), Off-Axis Integrated Cavity Output Spectroscopy (OA-ICOS) and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR). Corresponding instruments became recently commercially available and are increasingly used at atmospheric monitoring stations. We analyse results obtained through performance audits conducted within the framework of the Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) quality management system of the World Meteorology Organisation (WMO). These results reveal that current spectroscopic measurement techniques have clear advantages with respect to data quality objectives compared to more traditional methods for measuring CO and N2O. Further, they allow a smooth continuation of historic CO and N2O time series. However, special care is required concerning potential water vapour interference on the CO amount fraction reported by Near-IR CRDS instruments. This is reflected in results of parallel measurement campaigns, which clearly indicate that drying of the sample air is leading to an improved accuracy of CO measurements with such Near-IR CRDS instruments.

Christoph Zellweger et al.
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Christoph Zellweger et al.
Christoph Zellweger et al.
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Short summary
We analysed results obtained through CO and N2O performance audits conducted within the frame-work of the Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) quality management system of the World Meteorology Organisation (WMO). The results reveal that current spectroscopic measurement techniques have clear advantages with respect to data quality objectives compared to more traditional methods. Further, they allow a smooth continuation of historic CO and N2O time series.
We analysed results obtained through CO and N2O performance audits conducted within the...
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