Articles | Volume 5, issue 9
Research article
27 Sep 2012
Research article |  | 27 Sep 2012

Greenhouse gas measurements over a 144 km open path in the Canary Islands

J. S. A. Brooke, P. F. Bernath, G. Kirchengast, C. B. Thomas, J.-G. Wang, K. A. Tereszchuk, G. González Abad, R. J. Hargreaves, C. A. Beale, J. J. Harrison, S. Schweitzer, V. Proschek, P. A. Martin, V. L. Kasyutich, C. Gerbig, O. Kolle, and A. Loescher

Abstract. A new technique for the satellite remote sensing of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere via the absorption of short-wave infrared laser signals transmitted between counter-rotating satellites in low Earth orbit has recently been proposed; this would enable the acquisition of a long-term, stable, global set of altitude-resolved concentration measurements. We present the first ground-based experimental demonstration of this new infrared-laser occultation method, in which the atmospheric absorption of CO2 near 2.1 μm was measured over a ~144 km path length between two peaks in the Canary Islands (at an altitude of ~2.4 km), using relatively low power diode lasers (~4 to 10 mW). The retrieved CO2 volume mixing ratio of 400 ppm (±15 ppm) is consistent within experimental uncertainty with simultaneously recorded in situ validation measurements. We conclude that the new method has a sound basis for monitoring CO2 in the free atmosphere; other greenhouse gases such as methane, nitrous oxide and water vapour can be monitored in the same way.

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