Measurements of the Total Water Content of Cirrus Clouds. Part I: Instrument Details and Calibration

Weinstock, E. M., et al. (2006a), Measurements of the total water content ofcirrus clouds. Part I: Instrument details and calibration, J. Atmos. OceanicTechnol., 23, 1397 – 1409, doi:10.1175/JTECH1928.1.

This paper describes an instrument designed to measure the sum of gas phase and solid phase water, or total water, in cirrus clouds, and to be mounted in a pallet in the underbelly of the NASA WB-57 research aircraft. The ice water content of cirrus is determined by subtracting water vapor measured simultaneously by the Harvard water vapor instrument on the aircraft. The total water instrument uses an isokinetic inlet to maintain ambient particle concentrations as air enters the instrument duct, a 600-W heater mounted directly in the flow to evaporate the ice particles, and a Lyman-α photofragment fluorescence technique for detection of the total water content of the ambient air. Isokinetic flow is achieved with an actively controlled roots pump by referencing aircraft pressure, temperature, and true airspeed, together with instrument flow velocity, temperature, and pressure. Laboratory calibrations that utilize a water vapor addition system that adds air with a specific humidity tied to the vapor pressure of water at room temperature and crosschecked by axial and radial absorption of Lyman-α radiation at the detection axis are described in detail. The design provides for in-flight validation of the laboratory calibration by intercomparison with total water measured by radial absorption at the detection axis. Additionally, intercomparisons in clear air with the Harvard water vapor instrument are carried out. Based on performance of the Harvard water vapor instrument, this instrument has the detection capability of making accurate measurements of total water with mixing ratios in the mid- to upper troposphere of up to 2500 ppmv and mixing ratios in the lower stratosphere of about 5 ppmv, corresponding to almost three orders of magnitude in measurement capability.