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Uncertainty analysis for the miniaturized laser heterodyne radiometer (mini-LHR) for the measurement of carbon dioxide in the atmospheric column

GB Clarke, EL Wilson, JH Miller, HR Melroy

Presented here is a sensitivity analysis for the miniaturized laser heterodyne radiometer. This passive, ground-based instrument measures carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmospheric column and has been under development at NASA/GSFC since 2009. The goal of this development is to produce a low-cost, easily-deployable instrument that can extend current ground measurement networks in order to (1) validate column satellite observations, (2) provide coverage in regions of limited satellite observations, (3) target regions of interest such as thawing permafrost, and (4) support the continuity of a long-term climate record. In this paper an uncertainty analysis of the instrument performance is presented and compared with results from three sets of field measurements. The signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and corresponding maximum uncertainty for a single scan are calculated to be 329.4 ± 1.3 by deploying error propagation through the equation governing the SNR. Reported is an absorbance noise of 0.0024 for six averaged scans of field data, for an instrument precision of 0.14 ppmv for CO2.

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