Building the COllaborative Carbon Column Observing Network (COCCON): Long-term stability and ensemble performance of the EM27/SUN Fourier transform spectrometer

Matthias Frey, Mahesh K. Sha, Frank Hase, Matthäus Kiel, Thomas Blumenstock, Roland Harig, Gregor Surawicz, Nicholas M. Deutscher, Kei Shiomi, Jonathan E. Franklin, Hartmut Bösch, Jia Chen, Michel Grutter, Hirofumi Ohyama, Youwen Sun, André Butz, Gizaw Mengistu Tsidu, Dragos Ene, Debra Wunch, Zhensong CaoOmaira Garcia, Michel Ramonet, Felix Vogel, Johannes Orphal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


In a 3.5-year long study, the long-term performance of a mobile, solar absorption Bruker EM27/SUN spectrometer, used for greenhouse gas observations, is checked with respect to a co-located reference Bruker IFS 125HR spectrometer, which is part of the Total Carbon Column Observing Network (TCCON). We find that the EM27/SUN is stable on timescales of several years; the drift per year between the EM27/SUN and the official TCCON product is 0.02 ppmv for XCO2 and 0.9 ppbv for XCH4, which is within the 1σ precision of the comparison, 0.6 ppmv for XCO2 and 4.3 ppbv for XCH4. The bias between the two data sets is 3.9 ppmv for XCO2 and 13.0 ppbv for XCH4. In order to avoid sensitivity-dependent artifacts, the EM27/SUN is also compared to a truncated IFS 125HR data set derived from full-resolution TCCON interferograms. The drift is 0.02 ppmv for XCO2 and 0.2 ppbv for XCH4 per year, with 1σ precisions of 0.4 ppmv for XCO2 and 1.4 ppbv for XCH4, respectively. The bias between the two data sets is 0.6 ppmv for XCO2 and 0.5 ppbv for XCH4. With the presented long-term stability, the EM27/SUN qualifies as an useful supplement to the existing TCCON network in remote areas. To achieve consistent performance, such an extension requires careful testing of any spectrometers involved by application of common quality assurance measures. One major aim of the COllaborative Carbon Column Observing Network (COCCON) infrastructure is to provide these services to all EM27/SUN operators. In the framework of COCCON development, the performance of an ensemble of 30 EM27/SUN spectrometers was tested and found to be very uniform, enhanced by the centralized inspection performed at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology prior to deployment. Taking into account measured instrumental line shape parameters for each spectrometer, the resulting average bias across the ensemble with respect to the reference EM27/SUN used in the long-term study in XCO2 is 0.20 ppmv, while it is 0.8 ppbv for XCH4. The average standard deviation of the ensemble is 0.13 ppmv for XCO2 and 0.6 ppbv for XCH4. In addition to the robust metric based on absolute differences, we calculate the standard deviation among the empirical calibration factors. The resulting 2σ uncertainty is 0.6 ppmv for XCO2 and 2.2 ppbv for XCH4. As indicated by the executed long-term study on one device presented here, the remaining empirical calibration factor deduced for each individual instrument can be assumed constant over time. Therefore the application of these empirical factors is expected to further improve the EM27/SUN network conformity beyond the scatter among the empirical calibration factors reported above.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1513-1530
Number of pages18
JournalAtmospheric Measurement Techniques
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 11 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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