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CARE-C Participates in the First Ever Greenhouse Gases Profiling Over the EMME Region

Launch of AirCore on the west coast of Cyprus

CARE-C researchers and technical specialists performed, for the first time in the EMME region, five vertically-resolved greenhouse gases (GHGs) measurements by conducting “AirCores” flights, within the framework of EMME-CARE project. These flights were achieved in collaboration with colleagues from CEA and the French AirCore (AC) program.

AirCore is a unique system for sampling air and rendering vertical profiles of greenhouse gases (GHGs) concentrations from the surface up to the stratosphere. Carried out by a weather balloon filled with helium, it can reach altitudes typically up to 35 km. Once the AirCore reaches ground level, it is rapidly geo-localized and brought at the premises of The Cyprus Institute to measure CO2 CH4 and CO concentrations using a Cavity Ring Down Spectrometer (CRDS) from Picarro.

This “AirCore Campaign” took place between the 17th and 30th of June 2020. The balloons were typically launched from the west coast of the island and the AirCore were generally collected at the edge of the Troodos mountains. The duration of a flight was about one hour and a half. When counting road transport, balloon launching preparation, AirCore recovery and GHG analyses, an AirCore profiling typically takes a full day.

Cyprus has a strategic position for greenhouse gases (GHGs) measurements, being situated between three continents. Cyprus experiences the long-range transport of different air masses from large GHG hotspots such as the Middle East. Analysing concentrations, trends, and identifying sources of GHGs to comply with the Paris Agreement, requires for more dense atmospheric observations with the added value of constraining climate models that are used to simulate present and future GHG concentrations over the region.

In the EMME region, our TCCON (operational since August 2019) is the only observatory that produces standardised and high-precision (long-term) continuous data of the GHGs: On the other hand, these observations integrate GHG measurements in the atmospheric column (from the ground to the top of the atmosphere) without information on their vertical distribution. Such vertical information is crucial to improve climate models, or to help policy-makers in their Climate Action policies.

The campaign revealed that the volume of air recovered during an AirCore profiling (around 1 liter) has all the characteristics of a “core” like those obtained by geologists by drilling the ground. The small diameter of the tube limits the diffusion of the air molecules in it and one can assume that the location of these molecules in the tubing corresponds to a typical altitude. The calculation of vertically-resolved greenhouse gas concentrations requires further experience and knowledge in meteorology and fluid mechanics, which CyI managed to obtain through its collaboration with Le Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique (LMD).

Read more about the “AirCore Campaign” and its results here.

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