Atmospheric CO 2 monitoring with single-cell NDIR-based analyzers

B. B. Stephens, N. L. Miles, S. J. Richardson, A. S. Watt, K. J. Davis

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43 Scopus citations


We describe CO 2 concentration measurement systems based on relatively inexpensive single-cell non-dispersive infrared CO 2 sensors. The systems utilize signal averaging to obtain precision (1-f in 100 s) of 0.1 parts per million dry air mole fraction (ppm), frequent calibrations and sample drying in order to achieve state-of-the-art compatibility, and can run autonomously for months at a time. Laboratory tests indicate compatibility among four to six systems to be ±0.1 ppm (1-f), and field measurements of known reference-gases yield median errors of 0.01 to 0.17 ppm with 1-f variance of ±0.1 to 0.2 ppm. From May to August 2007, a system co-located with a NOAA-ESRL dual-cell NDIR system at the WLEF tall tower in Wisconsin measured daytime-only daily averages of CO 2 that differ by 0.26 ± 0.15 ppm (median ± 1 f), and from August 2005 to April 2011 a system co-located with weekly NOAA-ESRL network flask collection at Niwot Ridge, Colorado measured coincident CO 2 concentrations that differed by g -0.06 ± 0.30 ppm (in/i Combining double low line 585). Data from these systems are now supporting a wide range of analyses and this approach may be applicable in future studies where accuracy and initial cost of the sensors are priorities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2737-2748
Number of pages12
JournalAtmospheric Measurement Techniques
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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