DC-8 Instruments

NASA DC-8 payload
AbbreviationInstrumentDescriptionPrincipal InvestigatorOrganization
DIALOzone and Aerosol Differential Absorption LidarThe airborne DIAL system uses four lasers to make DIAL ozone (O3) profile measurements in the ultraviolet (UV) simultaneously with aerosol profile measurements in the visible and IR. Recent changes incorporate an additional laser and modifications to the receiver system that will provide aerosol backscatter, extinction, and depolarization profile measurements at three wavelengths (UV, visible, and NIR).Ed BrowellNASA Langley
MkIVMark IV InterferometerOperates in solar absorption mode, meaning that direct sunlight is spectrally analyzed and the amount of various gases at different heights in the Earth's atmosphere is derived from the shapes and depths of their absorption lines. The optical design of the MkIV interferometer is based largely on that of the ATMOS instrument, which has flown four times on the Space Shuttle. The first three mirrors in the optical path comprise the suntracker. Two of these mirrors are servo-controlled in order to compensate for any angular motion of the observation platform. The subsequent wedged KBr plates, flats, and cube-corner retro-reflectors comprise a double-passed Michelson interferometer, whose function is to impart a wavelength-dependent modulation to the solar beam. This is achieved by sliding one of the retro-reflectors at a uniform velocity so that the recombining beams interfere with each other. A paraboloid then focusses the solar beam onto infrared detectors, which measure the interferometrically modulated solar signal. Finally, Fourier transformation of the recorded detector outputs yields the solar spectrum. An important advantage of the MkIV Interferometer is that by employing a dichroic to feed two detectors in parallel, a HgCdTe photoconductor for the low frequencies (650-1850 cm-1) and a InSb photodiode for the high frequencies (1850-5650 cm-1), the entire mid-infrared region can be observed simultaneously with good linearity and signal-to-noise ratio. In this region over 30 different gases have identifiable spectral signatures including H2O, O3, N2O, CO, CH4, NO, NO2, HNO3, HNO4, N2O5, H2O2, ClNO3, HOCl, HCl, HF, COF2, CF4, SF6, CF2ClCFCl2, CHF2Cl, CF2Cl2, CFCl3, CCl4, CH3Cl, C2H2, C2H6, OCS, HCN, N2, O2, CO2 and many isotopic variants. The last three named gases, having well known atmospheric abundances, are important in establishing the observation geometry of each spectrum, which otherwise can be a major source of uncertainty. Similarly, from analysis of T-sensitive CO2 lines, the temperature profile can be accurately determined. The simultaneity of the observations of all these gases greatly simplifies the interpretation of the results, which are used for testing computer models of atmospheric transport and chemistry, validation of satellite data, and trend determination.
Although the MkIV can measure gas column abundances at any time during the day, the highest sensitivity to atmospheric trace gases is obtained by observing sunrise or sunset from a balloon. The very long (~ 400 km) atmospheric paths traversed by incoming rays in this observation geometry also make this so-called solar occultation technique insensitive to local contamination.
Crofton FarmerJPL
DA/DTDC-8 altitude profiles and flight trackSteve GainesNASA Ames
O3Chemiluminescent Ozone DetectorThe concentration of O3 is determined by measuring the light produced from the chemiluminescent reaction of ethylene (C2H4) and the O3 in the sample. The light output is detected by a photomultiplier tube and the resulting signal conditioned to a O-1 V instrument output. The chemiluminescent reaction occurs on a molecular basis (one molecule O3 - one molecule C2H4) with a surplus of C2H4 being supplied to the reaction chamber. Instrument detection limit is of the order of 2 ppb with a 90 percent response of about 3 sec.Gerald GregoryNASA Langley
WASWhole Air SamplerCollects samples from airborne platforms for detailed analysis of a wide range of trace gases. The compounds that are typically measured from the WAS include trace gases with sources from industrial midlatitude emissions, from biomass burning, and from the marine boundary layer, with certain compounds (e.g. organic nitrates) that have a unique source in the equatorial surface ocean. The use of a broad suite of tracers with different sources and lifetimes provides powerful diagnostic information on air mass history and chemical processing that currently is only available from measurements from whole air samples. Previous deployments of the whole air sampler have shown that the sampling and analytical procedures employed by our group are capable of accessing the wide range of mixing ratios at sufficient precision to be used for tracer studies. Thus, routine measurement of species, such as methyl iodide, at <= 0.1 x 10-12 mole fraction, or NMHC at levels of a few x 10-12 mole fraction are possible. In addition to the tracer aspects of the whole air sampler measurements, we measure a full suite of halocarbon species that provide information on the role of short-lived halocarbons in the tropical UT/LS region, on halogen budgets in the UT/LS region, and on continuing increasing temporal trends of HFCs (such as 134a), HCFCs (such as HCFC 141b), PFCs (such as C2F6), as well as declining levels of some of the major CFCs and halogenated solvents. The measurements of those species that are changing rapidly in the troposphere also give direct indications of the age and origin of air entering the stratosphere.Leroy Heidt
James Vedder
TWLyman-Alpha Total Water HygrometerTotal water is measured in situ as vapor with a Lyman-Alpha hygrometer. High ambient sample flows through a closed cell minimize the effect of trapped water. Lyman-alpha light (121.6 nm) photodissociates water to produce an excited OH radical. The fluorescence from this radical at 309 nm is detected with a phototube and counting system. At aircraft pressures the fluorescence signal is quenched by air which gives a signal that is proportional to mixing ratio. The Lyman-Alpha radiation produced with a DC-discharge lamp is monitored with an iodine ionization cell that is sensitive from 115 nm to 135 nm. Calibration occurs in flight by injecting water vapor directly into the ambient sample flow.Ken KellyNOAA Aeronomy Lab
FTIRFourier Transform Infrared SpectrometerThe absorption of infrared solar radiation along a slant path to the sun is recorded from 2 to 15 micrometers. Six spectral filters are used to cover the region from 2-15 microns. An interferogram is recorded in about 10 seconds. Interferograms are transformed to produce spectra. Column amounts are retrieved by fitting the observed spectra using the non-linear least squares fitting code SFIT2 that employs an Optimal Estimation retrieval algorithm.
The major chlorine reservoirs (HCl and ClONO2), the important nitrogen-containing gases in the stratosphere (N2O, NO, NO2, and HNO3), stratospheric and tropospheric tracers (HF, CH4, C2H6, H2O, CO2), a major source CFC (CF2Cl2) and ozone may be routinely retrieved.
William Mankin
Michael Coffey