A laser-induced fluorescence instrument for aircraft measurements of sulfur dioxide in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere
- 1Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, Boulder, CO, USA
- 2NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, Chemical Sciences Division, Boulder, CO, USA
- 3NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA
- 4National Institute of Standards and Technology, Boulder, CO, USA
- 5NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, USA
Abstract. This work describes the development and testing of a new instrument for in situ measurements of sulfur dioxide (SO2) on airborne platforms in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UT–LS). The instrument is based on the laser-induced fluorescence technique and uses the fifth harmonic of a tunable fiber-amplified semiconductor diode laser system at 1084.5 nm to excite SO2 at 216.9 nm. Sensitivity and background checks are achieved in flight by additions of SO2 calibration gas and zero air, respectively. Aircraft demonstration was performed during the NASA Volcano-Plume Investigation Readiness and Gas-Phase and Aerosol Sulfur (VIRGAS) experiment, which was a series of flights using the NASA WB-57F during October 2015 based at Ellington Field and Harlingen, Texas. During these flights, the instrument successfully measured SO2 in the UT–LS at background (non-volcanic) conditions with a precision of 2 ppt at 10 s and an overall uncertainty determined primarily by instrument drifts of ±(16 % + 0.9 ppt).