Field Evaluation of Column CO2 Retrievals From Intensity-Modulated Continuous-Wave Differential Absorption Lidar Measurements During the ACT-America Campaign

Joel F. Campbell, Bing Lin, Jeremy Dobler, Sandip Pal, Kenneth Davis, Michael D. Obland, Wayne Erxleben, Doug McGregor, Chris O'Dell, Emily Bell, Brad Weir, Tai Fang Fan, Susan Kooi, Iouli Gordon, Abigail Corbett, Roman Kochanov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


We present an evaluation of airborne intensity-modulated continuous-wave (IM-CW) lidar measurements of atmospheric column CO2 mole fractions during the Atmospheric Carbon and Transport–America (ACT-America) project. This lidar system transmits online and offline wavelengths simultaneously on the 1.57111-μm CO2 absorption line, with each modulated wavelength using orthogonal swept frequency waveforms. After the spectral characteristics of this system were calibrated through short-path measurements, we used the HITRAN spectroscopic database to calculate the average-column CO2 mole fraction (XCO2) from the lidar-measured optical depths. Using in situ measurements of meteorological parameters and CO2 concentrations for calibration data, we demonstrate that our lidar CO2 measurements were consistent from season to season and had an absolute calibration error (standard deviation) of 0.80 ppm when compared to XCO2 values calculated from in situ measurements. By using a 10-s or longer moving average, a precision of 1 ppm or better was obtained. The estimated CO2 measurement precision for 0.1-, 1-, 10-, and 60-s averages was determined to be 3.4, 1.2, 0.43, and 0.26 ppm, respectively. These correspond to measurement signal-to-noise ratios of 120, 330, 950, and 1,600, respectively. The drift in XCO2 over 1-hr of flight time was found to be below 0.1 ppm. These analyses demonstrate that the measurement stability, precision, and accuracy are all well below the thresholds needed to study synoptic-scale variations in atmospheric XCO2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2019EA000847
JournalEarth and Space Science
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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