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Do open-path Eddy Covariance CO2 Analyzers Need a Spectroscopic Correction for Fast Temperature Fluctuations in the Optical Path?
  • Ivan Bogoev,
  • David Holl
Ivan Bogoev
Campbell Scientific

Corresponding Author:ivan@campbellsci.com

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David Holl
University of Hamburg
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Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that has a strong absorption in the 4.2– 4.3 micrometers region of the infrared spectrum. Consequently, non-dispersive infrared (NDIR) spectroscopy using interference optical filters tuned in this spectral band can be utilized to provide reliable, high resolution and fast response measurements of atmospheric CO2 concentrations. As part of eddy covariance systems, open-path gas analyzers based on this principle are widely used in remote locations around the world because of their low-power consumption, fast frequency response, and ease of operation. One of the challenges of the open-path design is that the in-situ optical beam is exposed to the rapid fluctuations in ambient temperature. Besides gas composition and pressure being the two major spectroscopic line broadening mechanisms that affect the absorption of infrared light, air temperature also can influence the broadened half-width and the intensity of the spectral lines. Consequently, the fast temperature fluctuations of the air parcels in the optical path of such a sensor can produce changes in the amount of absorbed light and cause errors in the gas concentration measurement that can propagate into the flux calculations. The temperature dependence of the infrared absorption has not been quantified in the context of the CO2 NDIR gas analyzer methodology. The study will evaluate the temperature effects on absorption spectra of CO2-air-mixtures across the 4.2–4.3 micrometers infrared active region, typically used by NDIR gas analyzers. Infrared spectra will be modeled line-by-line from spectral-line parameters obtained from the high-resolution transmission molecular spectroscopic database (HITRAN). HITRAN-predicted molecular cross sections, the product of component spectral line intensity and spectral line shape at different wavelength, will be used to generate absorption spectra of CO2 air mixtures at ambient pressure using different concentrations and temperatures. The temperature dependence of CO2 absorption will be inferred from the integrated area under the absorptivity curve. Results interpreted in the context of the Beer-Lambert law will further characterize the temperature related spectroscopic effects on CO2 concentration calculations.