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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-2019-402
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2019-402
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 11 Dec 2019

Submitted as: research article | 11 Dec 2019

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

Long-term reliability of the Figaro TGS 2600 solid-state methane sensor under low Arctic conditions at Toolik lake, Alaska

Werner Eugster1, James Laundre2, Jon Eugster3,a, and George W. Kling4 Werner Eugster et al.
  • 1ETH Zurich, Department of Environmental Systems Science, Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Universitätstrasse 2, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland
  • 2The Ecosystem Center, Marine Biology Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA
  • 3University of Zurich, Institute of Mathematics, Winterthurerstrasse 190, 8057 Zurich, Switzerland
  • 4University of Michigan, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1085, USA
  • anow at: School of Mathematics, The University of Edinburgh

Abstract. The TGS 2600 was the first low-cost solid state sensor that shows a weak response to ambient levels of CH4 (e.g., range ≈1.8–2.7 ppm). Here we present an empirical function to correct the TGS 2600 signal for temperature and (absolute) humidity effects and address the long-term reliability of two identical sensors deployed from 2012 to 2018. We assess the performance of the sensors at 30-minute resolution and aggregated to weekly medians. Over the entire period the agreement between TGS-derived and reference CH4 concentrations measured by a high-precision Los Gatos Research instrument was R2 = 0.42, with better results during summer (R2 = 0.65 in summer 2012). Using absolute instead of relative humidity for the correction of the TGS 2600 sensor signals reduced the typical deviation from the reference to less than ±0.1 ppm over the full range of temperatures from −41 °C to 27 °C. At weekly resolution the two sensors showed a downward drift of signal voltages indicating that after 10–13 years a TGS 2600 may have reached its end of life. While the true trend in CH4 concentrations measured by the high-quality reference instrument was 10.1 ppb yr−1 (2012–2018), part of the downward trend in sensor signal (ca. 40–60 %) may be due to the increase in CH4 concentration, because the sensor voltage decreases with increasing CH4 concentration. Weekly median diel cycles tend to agree surprisingly well between the TGS 2600 and reference measurements during the snow-free season, but in winter the agreement is lower. We suggest developing separate functions for deducing CH4 concentrations from TGS 2600 measurements under cold and warm conditions. We conclude that the TGS 2600 sensor can provide data of research-grade quality if it is adequately calibrated and placed in a suitable environment where cross-sensitivities to gases other than CH4 is of no concern.

Werner Eugster et al.

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Long-term reliability of the Figaro TGS 2600 solid-state methane sensor under low Arctic conditions at Toolik lake, Alaska W. Eugster, J. Laundre, J. Eugster, and G. W. Kling http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11850/369689

Werner Eugster et al.

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Short summary
Measuring ambient methane concentrations requires expensive optical sensors. Now a first electrochemical analyser is available that shows a response to ambient levels of methane. We present the first long-term deployment of such sensors in an arctic environment (temperatures from −41 °C to 27 °C). We present a method based on these measurements to convert the signal to methane concentrations (corrected for the effects of air temperature and relative humidity) and its long-term stability.
Measuring ambient methane concentrations requires expensive optical sensors. Now a first...
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