Airborne measurements of CO2 column concentrations made with a pulsed IPDA lidar using a multiple-wavelength-locked laser and HgCdTe APD detector
Abstract. Here we report on measurements made with an improved CO2 Sounder lidar during the ASCENDS 2014 and 2016 airborne campaigns. The changes made to the 2011 version of the lidar included incorporating a rapidly wavelength-tunable, step-locked seed laser in the transmitter, using a much more sensitive HgCdTe APD detector and using an analog digitizer with faster readout time in the receiver. We also improved the lidar's calibration approach and the XCO2 retrieval algorithm. The 2014 and 2016 flights were made over several types of topographic surfaces from 3 to 12 km aircraft altitudes in the continental US. The results are compared to the XCO2 values computed from an airborne in situ sensor during spiral-down maneuvers. The 2014 results show significantly better performance and include measurement of horizontal gradients in XCO2 made over the Midwestern US that agree with chemistry transport models. The results from the 2016 airborne lidar retrievals show precisions of ∼ 0.7 parts per million (ppm) with 1 s averaging over desert surfaces, which is an improvement of about 8 times compared to similar measurements made in 2011. Measurements in 2016 were also made over fresh snow surfaces that have lower surface reflectance at the laser wavelengths. The results from both campaigns showed that the mean values of XCO2 retrieved from the lidar consistently agreed with those based on the in situ sensor to within 1 ppm. The improved precision and accuracy demonstrated in the 2014 and 2016 flights should benefit future airborne science campaigns and advance the technique's readiness for a space-based instrument.