Self-calibrating Balloon-borne Sensor for Measurements of Greenhouse Gases
A better scientific understanding of the sources and sinks of greenhouse gases, and of the interactions between the troposphere and stratosphere are needed. In situ, detailed measurements of water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane and other gases throughout the troposphere and lower stratosphere can provide information to improve atmospheric models, as well as provide verification of satellite observations. Existing fixed wing or balloon gondola platforms are very expensive to operate and are used infrequently. In this research, we discuss the development of a self-calibrating, diode laser-based sensor capable of measuring atmospheric mixing ratio profiles from sea level to 30 km using meteorological balloons. The low cost, size and power requirements for this sensor should permit widespread use. Measurements of water vapor and carbon dioxide will be discussed.