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Comparison of continuous in-situ CO2 observations at Jungfraujoch using two different measurement techniques

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2014
Author Schibig M. F., Steinbacher M., Buchmann B., van der Laan-Luijkx I. T., van der Laan S., Ranjan S., Leuenberger M. C.,
Project Kohlenstoff- und Wasserkreislauf Forschung auf dem Jungfraujoch
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques Discussions
Volume (Issue) 7
Page(s) 7053 - 7084
Title of proceedings Atmospheric Measurement Techniques Discussions


Since 2004, atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) is measured at the High Altitude Research Station Jungfraujoch by the division of Climate and Environmental Physics at the University of Bern (KUP) using a nondispersive infrared gas analyzer (NDIR) in combination with a paramagnetic O2 analyzer. In January 2010, CO2 measurements based on cavity ring down spectroscopy (CRDS) as part of the Swiss National Air Pollution Monitoring Network have been added by the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa). To ensure a smooth transition - a prerequisite when merging two datasets e.g. for trend determinations - the two measurement systems run in parallel for several years. Such a long-term intercomparison also allows identifying potential offsets between the two datasets and getting information about the compatibility of the two systems on different time scales.

A good agreement of the seasonality as well as for the short-term variations was observed and to a lesser extent for trend calculations mainly due to the short common period. However, the comparison revealed some issues related to the stability of the calibration gases of the KUP system and their assigned CO2 mole fraction. It was possible to adapt an improved calibration strategy based on standard gas determinations, which lead to better agreement between the two data sets. By excluding periods with technical problems and bad calibration gas cylinders, the average hourly difference (CRDS - NDIR) of the two systems is -0.03 ppm ± 0.25 ppm. Although the difference of the two datasets is in line with the compatibility goal of ±0.1 ppm of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the standard deviation is still too high. A significant part of this uncertainty originates from the necessity to switch the KUP system frequently (every 12 min) for 6 min from ambient air to a working gas in order to correct short-term variations of the O2 measurement system. Allowing additionally for signal stabilization after switching the sample, an effective data coverage of only 1/6 for the KUP system is achieved while the Empa system has a nearly complete data coverage. Additionally, different internal volumes and flow rates between the two systems may affect observed differences.