Articles | Volume 8, issue 7
Research article
31 Jul 2015
Research article |  | 31 Jul 2015

Calibration and instrumental line shape characterization of a set of portable FTIR spectrometers for detecting greenhouse gas emissions

M. Frey, F. Hase, T. Blumenstock, J. Groß, M. Kiel, G. Mengistu Tsidu, K. Schäfer, M. K. Sha, and J. Orphal

Abstract. A comprehensive calibration procedure for mobile, low-resolution, solar-absorption FTIR spectrometers, used for greenhouse gases observations, is developed. These instruments commend themselves for campaign use and deployment at remote sites. The instrumental line shape (ILS) of each spectrometer has been thoroughly characterized by analyzing the shape of H2O signatures in open path spectra. A setup for the external source is suggested and the invariance of derived ILS parameters with regard to chosen path length is demonstrated. The instrumental line shape characteristics of all spectrometers were found to be close to nominal. Side-by-side solar observations before and after a campaign, which involved shipping of all spectrometers to a selected target site and back, are applied for verifying the temporal invariability of instrumental characteristics and for deriving intercalibration factors for XCO2 and XCH4, which take into account residual differences of instrumental characteristics. An excellent level of agreement and stability was found between the different spectrometers: the uncorrected biases in XCO2 and XCH4 are smaller than 0.01 and 0.15 %, respectively, and the drifts are smaller than 0.005 and 0.035 %. As an additional sensitive demonstration of the instrumental performance we show the excellent agreement of ground pressure values obtained from the total column measurements of O2 and barometric records. We find a calibration factor of 0.9700 for the spectroscopic measurements in comparison to the barometric records and a very small scatter between the individual spectrometers (0.02 %). As a final calibration step, using a co-located TCCON (Total Carbon Column Observation Network) spectrometer as a reference, a common scaling factor has been derived for the XCO2 and XCH4 products, which ensures that the records are traceable to the WMO in situ scale.