Greenhouse gas measurements over a 144 km open path in the Canary Islands
A new technique for the satellite remote sensing of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere via the absorption of short-wave infrared laser signals transmitted between counter-rotating satellites in low Earth orbit has recently been proposed; this would enable the acquisition of a long-term, stable, global set of altitude-resolved concentration measurements. We present the first ground-based experimental demonstration of this new infrared-laser occultation method, in which the atmospheric absorption of CO 2 near 2.1 μm was measured over a ~144 km path length between two peaks in the Canary Islands (at an altitude of ~2.4 km), using relatively low power diode lasers (~4 to 10 mW). The retrieved CO 2 volume mixing ratio of 400 ppm (±15 ppm) is consistent within experimental uncertainty with simultaneously recorded in situ validation measurements. We conclude that the new method has a sound basis for monitoring CO 2 in the free atmosphere; other greenhouse gases such as methane, nitrous oxide and water vapour can be monitored in the same way.