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Center Independent Research & Development: GSFC IRAD

Continued Development of an Airborne System for Direct Validation of Regional Carbon Flux Estimates (CARAFE)

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

The flux instrumentation includes two modified commercial instruments and a fast data acquisition system.  The greenhouse gas measurement package is joined with measurements of 3D winds and aircraft flight data on a central data acquisition computer.

The overall objective of this project is to build a NASA airborne system for eddy covariance measurements of regional GHG fluxes and to use this system to obtain GHG flux data for a range of ecosystem states and land use regions. These flux measurements are needed to evaluate CO2 and CH4 top-down and bottom-up source/sink estimates, including: validation of top-level OCO-2 products and other space-based GHG missions, evaluation and improved parameterization of biogeochemical flux models, and application in airborne science campaigns of opportunity. Development of the payload, adaptation to the airframe, and coordination of the required expert team is necessary to mature the mission concept to a TRL 8-9 level for proposal to Earth Venture-Suborbital 3 (EV-S3) expected in 2017. We are aiming for a flight test in early calendar 2015 that will demonstrate our ability to make the measurements and prove science readiness for EV-S3 and other opportunities.

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