Earth System Research Laboratory Carbon Cycle and Greenhouse Gases Group Flask-Air Sample Measurements of CO2, CH4, CO, N2O, H2, and SF6 from the Aircraft Program, 1992-Present

ESRL GMD CCGG Aircraft Program

browse graphicAircraft Program Airplane
The Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network for the Carbon Cycle and Greenhouse Gases (CCGG) Group is part of NOAA'S Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) in Boulder, CO. The Reference Network measures the atmospheric distribution and trends of the three main long-term drivers of climate change, carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O), as well as carbon monoxide (CO) which is an important indicator of air pollution. The Reference Network measurement program includes continuous in-situ measurements at 4 baseline observatories (global background sites) and 8 tall towers, as well as flask-air samples collected by volunteers at over 50 additional regional background sites and from small aircraft. The air samples are returned to ESRL for analysis where measurements of about 55 trace gases are done. NOAA's Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network maintains the World Meteorological Organization international calibration scales for CO2, CH4, CO, N2O, and SF6 in air. The measurements of the Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network serve as a comparison with measurements made by many other international laboratories, and with regional studies. They are widely used in studies inferring space-time patterns of emissions and removals of greenhouse gases that are optimally consistent with the atmospheric observations. They serve as an early warning for climate "surprises". The measurements are also helpful for the ongoing evaluation of remote sensing technologies.

Aircraft Program Measurements: Since its inception in 1992, the Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network's aircraft program has been dedicated to collecting air samples in vertical profiles over North America. The program's mission is to capture seasonal and inter-annual changes in trace gas mixing ratios throughout the boundary layer and free troposphere. Data collected by the aircraft program provide a view of how the large-scale horizontal and vertical distribution of the measured trace gases change throughout a given year over the continent. The measured data are baseline levels, trends, and causes of variability of atmospheric gases that have the potential to affect global climate.

The historical data set contains measurements from 31 aircraft program missions. The ongoing data set is contingent upon the aircraft program missions that are still in use going forward. At present, most aircraft program flights collect 12 flask samples at different altitudes via a portable, automated sampling system. At a predetermined altitude, the sampling system is simply activated by a toggle switch that is easily accessible to the pilot. Time, location and auxiliary variables such as temperature and relative humidity are logged with each sample and downloaded into the NOAA/ESRL database when the samples are returned to the laboratory. Sampling frequency and height distribution varies at each site, but samples are collected from 500 m above ground to 8000 m above sea level at the majority of aircraft sites. While sampling flights have been conducted at some sites as often as two to three times per week, sample flights at most sites are only carried out once every two to three weeks.

Through the Big Earth Data Initiative (BEDI), ESRL/GMD has taken their data collection and converted files into NetCDF-4, a self-describing format.
  • Cite this dataset when used as a source: C. Sweeney, J. Higgs, S. Wolter, A. Crotwell, D. Neff, E. Dlugokencky, P. Lang, P. Novelli, J. Mund, E. Moglia, M. Crotwell, and NOAA ESRL (2017): Earth System Research Laboratory Carbon Cycle and Greenhouse Gases Group Flask-Air Sample Measurements of CO2, CH4, CO, N2O, H2, and SF6 from the Aircraft Program, 1992-Present, Version 1. [User indicate subset used]. NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information. DOI: 10.7289/V5N58JMF [User indicate access date].
Download Data
Distribution Formats
  • netCDF-4
    • File Compression: Gzip
Distributor Customer Engagement Branch
DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NCEI > National Centers for Environmental Information, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
1-828-271-4800
ncei.orders@noaa.gov
Dataset Point of Contact Mund, John
Developer
DOC/NOAA/ESRL/GMD > Global Monitoring Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
(303) 497-5472
john.mund@noaa.gov
Dataset Point of Contact Customer Engagement Branch
DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NCEI > National Centers for Environmental Information, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
1-828-271-4800
ncei.orders@noaa.gov
Time Period 1992-11-09 to Present
Spatial Bounding Box Coordinates
N: 90.0
S: -90.0
E: 180.0
W: -180.0
Spatial Coverage Map
General Documentation
Associated Resources
Publication Dates
  • publication: 2017-10
  • creation: 1992-11-09
Edition Version 1
Data Presentation Form Digital table - digital representation of facts or figures systematically displayed, especially in columns
Dataset Progress Status Ongoing - data is continually being updated
Data Update Frequency Annually
Purpose The carefully calibrated and documented measurements of the Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network serve as a comparison with measurements made by many other international laboratories, and with regional studies. They are widely used in studies inferring space-time patterns of emissions and removals of greenhouse gases that are optimally consistent with the atmospheric observations. The calibrated observations are also indispensable for the ongoing evaluation of remote sensing technologies.
Dataset Citation
  • Cite this dataset when used as a source: C. Sweeney, J. Higgs, S. Wolter, A. Crotwell, D. Neff, E. Dlugokencky, P. Lang, P. Novelli, J. Mund, E. Moglia, M. Crotwell, and NOAA ESRL (2017): Earth System Research Laboratory Carbon Cycle and Greenhouse Gases Group Flask-Air Sample Measurements of CO2, CH4, CO, N2O, H2, and SF6 from the Aircraft Program, 1992-Present, Version 1. [User indicate subset used]. NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information. DOI: 10.7289/V5N58JMF [User indicate access date].
Cited Authors
  • John Mund
    DOC/NOAA/ESRL/GMD > Global Monitoring Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Kirk Thoning
    DOC/NOAA/ESRL/GMD > Global Monitoring Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Pieter Tans
    DOC/NOAA/ESRL/GMD > Global Monitoring Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Colm Sweeny
    DOC/NOAA/ESRL/GMD > Global Monitoring Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • J. Higgs
    DOC/NOAA/ESRL/GMD > Global Monitoring Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • S. Wolter
    DOC/NOAA/ESRL/GMD > Global Monitoring Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • A. Crotwell
    DOC/NOAA/ESRL/GMD > Global Monitoring Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • D. Neff
    DOC/NOAA/ESRL/GMD > Global Monitoring Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • E. Dlugokencky
    esrl
  • J. Novelli
    DOC/NOAA/ESRL/GMD > Global Monitoring Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • E. Mogila
    DOC/NOAA/ESRL/GMD > Global Monitoring Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • M. Crotwell
    DOC/NOAA/ESRL/GMD > Global Monitoring Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • DOC/NOAA/ESRL/GMD > Global Monitoring Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
Originators
  • DOC/NOAA/ESRL/GMD > Global Monitoring Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
Principal Investigators
  • Colm Sweeny
    DOC/NOAA/ESRL/GMD > Global Monitoring Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
Collaborators
  • John Mund
    DOC/NOAA/ESRL/GMD > Global Monitoring Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Kirk Thoning
    DOC/NOAA/ESRL/GMD > Global Monitoring Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Pieter Tans
    DOC/NOAA/ESRL/GMD > Global Monitoring Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • J. Higgs
    DOC/NOAA/ESRL/GMD > Global Monitoring Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • S. Wolter
    DOC/NOAA/ESRL/GMD > Global Monitoring Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • A. Crotwell
    DOC/NOAA/ESRL/GMD > Global Monitoring Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • D. Neff
    DOC/NOAA/ESRL/GMD > Global Monitoring Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • E. Dlugokencky
    esrl
  • J. Novelli
    DOC/NOAA/ESRL/GMD > Global Monitoring Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • E. Mogila
    DOC/NOAA/ESRL/GMD > Global Monitoring Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • M. Crotwell
    DOC/NOAA/ESRL/GMD > Global Monitoring Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
Publishers
  • DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NCEI > National Centers for Environmental Information, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
Theme keywords Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Science Keywords
  • Earth Science > Atmosphere > Atmospheric Chemistry > Carbon And Hydrocarbon Compounds > Carbon Dioxide
  • Earth Science > Atmosphere > Atmospheric Chemistry > Carbon And Hydrocarbon Compounds > Methane
  • Earth Science > Atmosphere > Atmospheric Chemistry > Carbon And Hydrocarbon Compounds > Carbon Monoxide
  • Earth Science > Atmosphere > Atmospheric Chemistry > Nitrogen Compounds > Nitrous Oxide
  • Earth Science > Atmosphere > Atmospheric Chemistry > Sulfur Compounds
  • Earth Science > Atmosphere > Atmospheric Chemistry > Halocarbons And Halogens > Halocarbons
  • Earth Science > Atmosphere > Atmospheric Chemistry > Hydrogen Compounds
Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) Essential Climate Variables (ECVs)
  • Atmospheric - Composition - Carbon Dioxide, Methane And Other Greenhouse Gases (including N2o, Cfcs, Hcfcs, Hfcs, Sf6 And Pfcs)
Keyword Thesaurus Title
  • Data Sets
  • Biogeochemical Cycles
  • Biogeochemical Processes
  • Biogeochemical Modeling
  • Troposphere Composition
  • Troposphere Chemistry
Data Center keywords Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Data Center Keywords
  • DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NCEI > National Centers for Environmental Information, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • DOC/NOAA/ESRL/GMD > Global Monitoring Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
Platform keywords Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Platform Keywords
  • AIRCRAFT
  • CESSNA 206
  • BEECHCRAFT KING AIR
  • CESSNA 172 SKYHAWK
Instrument keywords Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Instrument Keywords
  • FLASKS
Place keywords Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Location Keywords
  • Continent > North America > United States Of America > Illinois
  • Continent > North America > United States Of America > Iowa
  • Continent > North America > United States Of America > Nebraska
  • Continent > North America > United States Of America > Colorado
  • Continent > North America > United States Of America > New Jersey
  • Continent > North America > United States Of America > North Dakota
  • Continent > North America > Canada > British Columbia
  • Continent > North America > Canada > Saskatchewan
  • Continent > North America > United States Of America > Wisconsin
  • Continent > North America > United States Of America > Hawaii
  • Continent > North America > United States Of America > Massachusetts
  • Continent > North America > United States Of America > Indiana
  • Continent > North America > United States Of America > Alaska
  • Continent > North America > United States Of America > South Carolina
  • Continent > North America > United States Of America > Oklahoma
  • Continent > North America > United States Of America > Texas
  • Continent > North America > United States Of America > California
  • Continent > South America > Brazil
  • Ocean > Pacific Ocean > South Pacific Ocean > Polynesia > Cook Islands
  • Continent > Asia > Eastern Asia > Mongolia
Project keywords Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Project Keywords
  • ESRL > Earth System Research Laboratory (NOAA)
Data Resolution keywords Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Vertical Data Resolution Keywords
  • > 1 km
Stratum keywords Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Location Keywords
  • Vertical Location > Boundary Layer
  • Vertical Location > Troposphere
Use Constraints
  • Cite this dataset when used as a source: C. Sweeney, J. Higgs, S. Wolter, A. Crotwell, D. Neff, E. Dlugokencky, P. Lang, P. Novelli, J. Mund, E. Moglia, M. Crotwell, and NOAA ESRL (2017): Earth System Research Laboratory Carbon Cycle and Greenhouse Gases Group Flask-Air Sample Measurements of CO2, CH4, CO, N2O, H2, and SF6 from the Aircraft Program, 1992-Present, Version 1. [User indicate subset used]. NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information. DOI: 10.7289/V5N58JMF [User indicate access date].
  • The information contained herein is provided as a public service, with the understanding that the NOAA/ESRL Global Monitoring Divison makes no warranties, either expressed or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability, or suitability of the information.
  • Use liability: NOAA and NCEI cannot provide any warranty as to the accuracy, reliability, or completeness of furnished data. Users assume responsibility to determine the usability of these data. The user is responsible for the results of any application of this data for other than its intended purpose.
Access Constraints
  • Distribution liability: NOAA and NCEI make no warranty, expressed or implied, regarding these data, nor does the fact of distribution constitute such a warranty. NOAA and NCEI cannot assume liability for any damages caused by any errors or omissions in these data. If appropriate, NCEI can only certify that the data it distributes are an authentic copy of the records that were accepted for inclusion in the NCEI archives.
Fees
  • In most cases, electronic downloads of the data are free, however fees may apply for data certifications, copies of analog materials, and data distribution on physical media.
Lineage information for: dataset
Lineage Statement Raw data from the 12-pack flask sampling systems from the aircraft flights are sent back to NOAA/ESRL in Boulder, CO for analysis. The greenhouse gases are measured by the Measurement of Atmospheric Gases that Influence Climate Change (MAGICC) system on one of two nearly-identical automated analytical systems. Halocarbons and hydrocarbons are measured using a GC/mass spectrometric technique. A subset of 12-pack flasks is also analyzed for isotopes of CO2 at the University of Colorado INSTAAR Stable Isotope Lab. There are multiple levels of quality control for 12-pack flask samples taken at each aircraft site, but there are also multiple sources of errors that are assessed in the lab. Once data are analyzed the data are compiled into standard NetCDF files at ESRL/GMD and are archived at the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI).
Processor
  • DOC/NOAA/ESRL/GMD > Global Monitoring Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
Processing Steps
  • Aircraft flights that use programmable 12-flask sampling systems (comprised of a programmable compressor package and a programmable flask package) to collect upper data.
    Rationale: To take raw observations at various heigh distributions throughout flights.
Processing Environment The processing environment is a custom software suite on a Linux platform.
Source Datasets
  • Earth System Research Laboratory Carbon Cycle and Greenhouse Gases Group Flask-Air Sample Measurements of CO2, CH4, CO, N2O, H2, and SF6 from the Aircraft Program, 1992-Present
    • Description of Source: ESRL GMD Aircraft Program Flights
    • Temporal extent used: 1992-11-09 to Present
    • Spatial extent used: N:90.0 S:-90.0 E:180.0 W:-180.0
Lineage information for: repository
Processing Steps
  • 2015-04-22T00:00:00 - NOAA created the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) by merging NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC), and National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC), including the National Coastal Data Development Center (NCDDC), per the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, Public Law 113-235. NCEI launched publicly on April 22, 2015.
Last Modified: 2018-07-23
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