Articles | Volume 3, issue 5
Research article
11 Oct 2010
Research article |  | 11 Oct 2010

A new fully automated FTIR system for total column measurements of greenhouse gases

M. C. Geibel, C. Gerbig, and D. G. Feist

Abstract. This article introduces a new fully automated FTIR system that is part of the Total Carbon Column Observing Network (TCCON). It will provide continuous ground-based measurements of column-averaged volume mixing ratio for CO2, CH4 and several other greenhouse gases in the tropics.

Housed in a 20-foot shipping container it was developed as a transportable system that could be deployed almost anywhere in the world. We describe the automation concept which relies on three autonomous subsystems and their interaction. Crucial components like a sturdy and reliable solar tracker dome are described in detail. The automation software employs a new approach relying on multiple processes, database logging and web-based remote control.

First results of total column measurements at Jena, Germany show that the instrument works well and can provide parts of the diurnal as well as seasonal cycle for CO2. Instrument line shape measurements with an HCl cell suggest that the instrument stays well-aligned over several months.

After a short test campaign for side by side intercomaprison with an existing TCCON instrument in Australia, the system will be transported to its final destination Ascension Island.