, Volume 102, Issue 2, pp 391-405
Date: 24 Nov 2010

A new low-power, open-path instrument for measuring methane flux by eddy covariance

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This paper describes a new low-power instrument for measuring methane flux by eddy covariance method at sites without grid power. Design and field performance of the LI-7700 Methane Analyzer (LI-COR Biosciences) are examined in this study. The instrument uses 8 W of power in steady-state operation and employs a tunable diode laser in an open Herriott cell configuration with 0.47 m base path and 30 m optical path length. Methane number density is measured using wavelength modulation spectroscopy (WMS) with 2f detection. Typical signal noise is <5 ppb rms at 10 Hz. Corrections for variations in temperature, pressure and water vapor are described. Data losses due to mirror contamination and condensation are minimized by a radiation shield and automatic mirror cleaning system and are shown to be small. Measured spectra and co-spectra are shown to follow the Kaimal model at deployment sites meeting classical criteria, and to follow sensible heat flux co-spectra from the sonic anemometer in most other cases, including difficult ones. Measured fluxes are similar in magnitude to those expected from the literature, and zero flux was measured during both summer and winter at a site known to have fluxes at or very near zero.