Transcripts of 12350_ATom_greenhouse

Every one of the instruments on here has had to be spec'd to work at phenomenal levels. So we're going to be flying in the background atmosphere. That usually means there's very little of whatever you're trying to measure. For something like CO2 we need such high sensitivity - there's lots of CO2 there, so every tiny change in it makes a difference. For something like ozone, we're going to be looking at very small numbers in the background atmosphere. For something like NOx, NO and NO2, the numbers are the lowest, even today, the lowest that instrument has ever measured was earlier on in the flight today. So the instrument is a cavity enhanced system, so we take light from the laser and put it through a sampling cell. And then we look and see how much light disappears when we have a certain amount of any of the four gases that we measure. For a given amount of CO2 that's in the atmosphere, a certain amount will be absorbed of the laser light and then we can tell from that how much CO2 there is. We do a lot of profiles over TCCON sites, which are sites that look up at the sun and give us a total column of CO2 and methane between that site and the sun. But we also fly underneath some of the satellites. So today we've been doing an underpass under the OCO-2 satellite, where they measure CO2 columns. So we'll be sending all of the CO2 profiles that we measure to the OCO2 team to help with the validation of their instrument. A project like ATom is ideally suited for that, so it just takes a little extra coordination to try and get the most out of that. Looking at the real time data does give us ideas about what we should be interested in when it comes to looking at the data. Because there is a huge amount of data that's going to be produced from ATom, so I think there'll be a lot of the wider science community who end up using this data set, and I can see it being invaluable to all the modeling community. From what I've heard from them, they are very excited about the whole project.