Picarro spectrometers quantify man-made versus natural greenhouse gases

April 5, 2011
Sunnyvale, CA--Picarro says its new spectrometers dramatically improve the ability of scientists to measure and trace greenhouse gases (GHGs) emanating from urban centers or biomass combustion.

Sunnyvale, CA--Picarro has launched two spectrometers for gas concentration analysis that improve the ability of scientists to measure and trace greenhouse gases (GHGs) emanating from urban centers or biomass combustion. The G2401 and G2401-m incorporate simultaneous measurement of four distinct molecular species: carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, methane, and water vapor at levels that meet the World Meteorological Organization's (WMO) data quality objectives.

Although carbon monoxide is not a greenhouse gas, it is chiefly a product of fossil fuel or biomass combustion and can be used as a tracer for these processes. Researchers compare continuous carbon-monoxide measurements against carbon-dioxide measurements to differentiate natural background GHG concentrations from GHG generated by fossil fuel or biomass combustion. These compact new Picarro systems make it far easier to quantify this critical differential using a single instrument. The G2401 is designed for long-term observations atop telecommunication towers, buildings, or mountains. The G2401-m is designed for mobile measurement platforms and was engineered to endure extended airborne operations characterized by rapid changes in altitude and pressure, and significant vibrations. Unlike other gas analyzers, Picarro says its instruments incorporate sophisticated temperature and pressure control systems designed to ensure reliable spectroscopic performance and high precision measurements even in unforgiving environments.

"With these two new products, we are responding to requests from our customers for a better way to trace greenhouse gases created by burning," says Michael Woelk, CEO of Picarro. "The ability to simultaneously measure these gases with a single analyzer radically simplifies measurements and reduces capital equipment costs by eliminating the need for multiple instruments. It’s a breakthrough that will empower scientists to quickly and continuously measure and attribute greenhouse gas emissions to either man or nature."

Initial customers for these analyzers include the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). NASA researchers will use the G2401-m as part of its upcoming Carbon in Arctic Reservoirs Vulnerability Experiment (CARVE) program, a comprehensive effort to measure carbon fluxes and derive carbon budgets for the Arctic with airborne measurements. NOAA researchers will use the G2401 as part of AirCore, a project that deploys a unique 150 m sampling tube that can be used in conjunction with balloons, UAV’s, and aircraft to collect layered air samples from the upper atmosphere. The two new analyzers should also prove particularly useful for GHG research in urban settings where fossil fuel combustion is most concentrated.

SOURCE: Picarro; www.picarro.com/about_picarro/press_releases/20110329

Posted by:Gail OvertonSubscribe now to Laser Focus World magazine; It’s free! Follow us on TwitterFollow OptoIQ on your iPhone. Download the free App here

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