EOMF-10. A novel, low-cost analytical method measuring high-resolution vertical profiles of stratospheric trace gases

The radiative balance of the upper atmosphere is dependent on the concentrations of greenhouse gases and aerosols. Climate models predict that with increasing surface temperatures, the primary mechanism for transporting tropospheric air into the stratosphere (known as the Brewer-Dobson Circulation) will strengthen, leading to changes in the stratospheric concentrations of water vapor and other greenhouse gases as well as aerosols which are all critical to understanding earth’s radiative balance. The mixing ratios of greenhouse gases and other trace gases (such as SF6 and CFCs) with various photochemical lifetimes provide strong constrain for tracking changes in the stratospheric dynamics, therefore, a cost-effective approach monitoring the trace gases in the stratosphere is urgently needed. Our recent work developed NOAA’s next-generation balloon borne AirCore sampler (called the StratoCore) to measure a suite of long-lived trace gases from the tropopause to mid-troposphere. We adapted a GC-ECD for high vertical resolution (~4 mbar per measurement) measurements in the AirCore, then analyzed the vertical profiles of trace gases in the stratospheric portion of two AirCore samples from two different flights. The results from the two flights showed consistent tracer-tracer relationships and good agreement with aircraft measurements, suggesting that the AirCore provides a low-cost, robust, and accurate approach to retrieving profiles of key stratospheric species.