Articles | Volume 7, issue 3
Research article
06 Mar 2014
Research article |  | 06 Mar 2014

Near-infrared remote sensing of Los Angeles trace gas distributions from a mountaintop site

D. Fu, T. J. Pongetti, J.-F. L. Blavier, T. J. Crawford, K. S. Manatt, G. C. Toon, K. W. Wong, and S. P. Sander

Abstract. The Los Angeles basin is a significant anthropogenic source of major greenhouse gases (CO2 and CH4) and the pollutant CO, contributing significantly to regional and global climate change. We present a novel approach for monitoring the spatial and temporal distributions of greenhouse gases in the Los Angeles basin using a high-resolution spectroscopic remote sensing technique. A new Fourier transform spectrometer called CLARS-FTS has been deployed since May, 2010, at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)'s California Laboratory for Atmospheric Remote Sensing (CLARS) on Mt. Wilson, California, for automated long-term measurements of greenhouse gases. The instrument design and performance of CLARS-FTS are presented. From its mountaintop location at an altitude of 1673 m, the instrument points at a programmed sequence of ground target locations in the Los Angeles basin, recording spectra of reflected near-IR solar radiation. Column-averaged dry-air mole fractions of greenhouse gases (XGHG) including XCO2, XCH4, and XCO are retrieved several times per day for each target. Spectra from a local Spectralon® scattering plate are also recorded to determine background (free tropospheric) column abundances above the site. Comparisons between measurements from LA basin targets and the Spectralon® plate provide estimates of the boundary layer partial column abundances of the measured species. Algorithms are described for transforming the measured interferograms into spectra, and for deriving column abundances from the spectra along with estimates of the measurement precision and accuracy. The CLARS GHG measurements provide a means to infer relative, and possibly absolute, GHG emissions.