A Design for Unattended Monitoring of Carbon Dioxide on a Very Tall Tower

Cong Long Zhao Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science, University of Colorado and NOAA, Climate Monitoring and Diagnostics Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado

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Peter S. Bakwin NOAA, Climate Monitoring and Diagnostics Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado

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Pieter P. Tans NOAA, Climate Monitoring and Diagnostics Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado

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Abstract

Unattended measurements of carbon dioxide (CO2) mixing ratio at three altitudes up to 496 m above the surface on a television transmitter tower in the southeastern United States have been made for a period of 4 yr. This report describes the design of the automatic tower measuring system in detail. A nondispersive infrared (NDIR) analyzer is used to measure the CO2 concentration continuously. Real-time control and data collection uses a PC 486 running under the multitasking operating system QNX. The CO2 data show strong diurnal and seasonal variations, and large vertical gradients. A comparison of this study’s continental tower data with data from “background” sites should provide a strong constraint for regional and global models of terrestrial CO2 fluxes.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Cong Long Zhao, NOAA/CMDL, 325 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80303.

Email: czhao@cmdl.noaa.gov

Abstract

Unattended measurements of carbon dioxide (CO2) mixing ratio at three altitudes up to 496 m above the surface on a television transmitter tower in the southeastern United States have been made for a period of 4 yr. This report describes the design of the automatic tower measuring system in detail. A nondispersive infrared (NDIR) analyzer is used to measure the CO2 concentration continuously. Real-time control and data collection uses a PC 486 running under the multitasking operating system QNX. The CO2 data show strong diurnal and seasonal variations, and large vertical gradients. A comparison of this study’s continental tower data with data from “background” sites should provide a strong constraint for regional and global models of terrestrial CO2 fluxes.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Cong Long Zhao, NOAA/CMDL, 325 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80303.

Email: czhao@cmdl.noaa.gov

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