Automated enclosure and protection system for compact solar-tracking spectrometers
Abstract. A novel automated enclosure for protecting solar-tracking atmospheric instruments was designed, constructed, and successfully tested under various weather conditions. A complete automated measurement system, consisting of a compact solar-tracking Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectrometer (EM27/SUN) and the enclosure, has been deployed in central Munich to monitor greenhouse gases since 2016 and withstood all critical weather conditions, including rain, storms, and snow. It provided ground-based measurements of column-averaged concentrations of CO2, CH4, O2, and H2O throughout this time.
The enclosure protects the instrument from harmful environmental influences while allowing open-path measurements in sunny weather. The newly developed and patented cover, a key component of the enclosure, permits unblocked solar measurements while reliably protecting the instrument. This enables dynamic decision regarding taking measurements, and thus increases the number of data samples. This enclosure leads to a fully automated measurement system, which collects data whenever possible without any human interaction. In the long term, the enclosure will provide the foundation for a permanent greenhouse gas monitoring sensor network.