Articles | Volume 5, issue 7
Research article
24 Jul 2012
Research article |  | 24 Jul 2012

Carbon monoxide measurements onboard the CARIBIC passenger aircraft using UV resonance fluorescence

D. Scharffe, F. Slemr, C. A. M. Brenninkmeijer, and A. Zahn

Abstract. Goal of the project CARIBIC (Civil Aircraft for the Regular Investigation of the atmosphere Based on an Instrumented Container) is to carry out regular and detailed observations of atmospheric composition (particles and gases) at cruising altitudes of passenger aircraft, i.e. at 9–12 km. Continuous, fast measurement of CO is indispensable for the chemical characterization of encountered air masses, for the detection of plumes of polluted air and for studying troposphere-stratosphere transport. CO is measured by a commercial resonance fluorescence UV instrument modified for the use onboard passenger aircraft. Modifications were necessary to optimize the instrument reliability allowing unattended operation for several days. The instrument has a precision of 1–2 ppbv at an integration time of 1 s. The response time to reach 63.2% signal strength is 2 s. We describe the modifications of the instrument, the experiences made during its operation since December 2004, the quality control of CO measurements onboard CARIBIC, and suggest a regular service routine that guarantees long-term high-quality data.