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MAMAP – a new spectrometer system for column-averaged methane and carbon dioxide observations from aircraft: instrument description and performance assessment

Author(s): K. Gerilowski | A. Tretner | T. Krings | M. Buchwitz | P. P. Bertagnolio | F. Belemezov | J. Erzinger | J. P. Burrows | H. Bovensmann

Journal: Atmospheric Measurement Techniques Discussions
ISSN 1867-8610

Volume: 3;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 3199;
Date: 2010;
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Carbon dioxide (CO2) and Methane (CH4) are the two most important anthropogenic greenhouse gases. CH4 is furthermore one of the most potent present and future contributors to global warming because of its large global warming potential (GWP). Our knowledge of CH4 sources and sinks is based primarily on sparse in-situ local point measurements from micro sites and surface networks and more recently on low spatial resolution satellite observations. There is a need for measurements of the dry columns of CO2 and CH4 having high spatial resolution and spatial coverage. In order to fill this gap a new passive airborne 2-channel grating spectrometer instrument for remote sensing of small scale and mesoscale column-averaged CH4 and CO2 observations has been developed. This Methane Airborne MAPper (MAMAP) instrument measures reflected and scattered solar radiation in the short wave infrared (SWIR) and near-infrared (NIR) parts of the electro-magnetic spectrum at moderate spectral resolution. The SWIR channel yields measurements of atmospheric absorption bands of CH4 and CO2 in the spectral range between 1.59 and 1.69 μm at a spectral resolution of 0.82 nm. The NIR channel around 0.76 μm measures the atmospheric O2-A-band absorption with a resolution of 0.46 nm. MAMAP has been designed for flexible operation aboard a variety of airborne platforms. The instrument design and performance, together with some results from on-ground and in-flight engineering tests are presented. The instrument performance has been analyzed using a retrieval algorithm applied to the SWIR channel nadir measured spectra. The signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of the SWIR channel is approximately 1000 for integration times (tint) in the range of 0.6–0.8 s for scenes with surface spectral reflectances of around 0.18. At these integration times the ground scene size is about 23×33 m2 for an aircraft altitude of 1 km and a ground speed of 200 km/h. For these scenes the CH4 and CO2 column retrieval precisions are typically about 1% (1 σ). Elevated levels of CH4 have been retrieved above a CH4 emitting landfill. Similarly the plume of CO2 from coal-fired power plants can be well detected and tracked. The measurements by the MAMAP sensor enable estimates of anthropogenic, biogenic and geological emissions of localized intense CH4 and CO2 sources such as anthropogenic fugitive emissions from gas industry and waste, emissions from coal-fired power plants or geologic emissions from seepage and volcanoes. Appropriate analysis of the measurements of MAMAP potentially also yields CH4 emissions from less intense but extensive sources such as wetlands.
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