Articles | Volume 11, issue 6
Research article
27 Jun 2018
Research article |  | 27 Jun 2018

The IAGOS NOx instrument – design, operation and first results from deployment aboard passenger aircraft

Florian Berkes, Norbert Houben, Ulrich Bundke, Harald Franke, Hans-Werner Pätz, Franz Rohrer, Andreas Wahner, and Andreas Petzold

Abstract. We describe the nitrogen oxide instrument designed for the autonomous operation on board passenger aircraft in the framework of the European Research Infrastructure IAGOS (In-service Aircraft for a Global Observing System). We demonstrate the performance of the instrument using data from two deployment periods aboard an A340-300 aircraft of Deutsche Lufthansa. The well-established chemiluminescence detection method is used to measure nitrogen monoxide (NO) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). NOx is measured using a photolytic converter, and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is determined from the difference between NOx and NO. This technique allows measuring at high time resolution (4 s) and high precision in the low ppt range (NO: 2σ = 24 pptv; NOx: 2σ = 35 pptv) over different ambient temperature and ambient pressure altitude ranges (from surface pressure down to 190 hPa). The IAGOS NOx instrument is characterized for (1) calibration stability and total uncertainty, (2) humidity and chemical interferences (e.g., ozone; nitrous acid, HONO; peroxyacetyl nitrate, PAN) and (3) inter-instrumental precision. We demonstrate that the IAGOS NOx instrument is a robust, fully automated, and long-term stable instrument suitable for unattended operation on airborne platforms, which provides useful measurements for future air quality studies and emission estimates.

Short summary
The need for in situ nitrogen oxide measurements on a global scale is crucial to improve the chemistry in global chemistry models and evaluate satellite retrievals. Here we present the characterization of the new IAGOS NOx instrument installed on passenger aircraft, which will provide statistical robust measurements from the surface up to 13 km.