06 Sep 2023
 | 06 Sep 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

Airborne Lidar Measurements of Atmospheric CO2 Column Concentrations to Cloud Tops made during the 2017 ASCENDS/ABoVE Campaign

Jianping Mao, James B. Abshire, S. Randy Kawa, Xiaoli Sun, and Haris Riris

Abstract. We measured the column-averaged atmospheric CO2 mixing ratio (XCO2) to a variety of cloud tops with an airborne pulsed multi-wavelength integrated path differential absorption (IPDA) lidar during NASA’s 2017 ASCENDS/ABoVE field campaign. Measurements of height- resolved atmospheric backscatter profiles allow this lidar technique to estimate XCO2 to cloud tops as well as to the ground with accurate knowledge of the photon path-length. We validated these measurements with those from an onboard in situ CO2 sensor during spiral down maneuvers. These lidar measurements were 2–3 times better than those from previous airborne campaigns, due to our using a wavelength step-locked laser diode source and a high-efficiency detector for this campaign. Precisions of 0.6 parts per million (ppm) were achieved for 10-s average measurements to mid-level clouds and 0.9 ppm to low-level clouds at the top of the planetary boundary layer. This study demonstrates the lidar’s capability to fill in XCO2 measurement gaps in cloudy regions and to help resolve the vertical and horizontal distributions of atmospheric CO2. Future airborne campaigns and spaceborne missions with this capability can be used to improve atmospheric transport modeling, flux estimation, and carbon data assimilation.

Jianping Mao et al.

Status: open (until 28 Oct 2023)

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Jianping Mao et al.

Jianping Mao et al.


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Short summary
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center has developed an integrated-path, differential absorption lidar approach to measure column-averaged atmospheric CO2 (XCO2). We demonstrated the lidar’s capability to measure XCO2 to cloud tops with the data from the summer 2017 airborne campaign in the U.S. and Canada. This active remote sensing technique can provide all-sky data coverage and XCO2 measurements in low-bias and high-precision for future airborne science campaigns and space missions.