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Open Access Publications from the University of California

An intercomparison of instrumentation for tropospheric measurements of dimethyl sulfide: Aircraft results for concentrations at the parts-per-trillion level

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This paper reports results from NASA's Chemical Instrumentation and Test Evaluation (CITE 3) during which airborne measurements of dimethyl sulfide (DMS) from six instruments were intercompared. Represented by the six instruments are three fundamentally different detection principles (flame photometric, mass spectrometric, and electron capture after fluorination); three collection/preconcentration methods (cryogenic, gold wool absorption, and polymer absorbent); and three types of oxidant scrubbers (solid phase alkaline, aqueous reactor, and cotton). The measurements were made over the Atlantic Ocean in August/September 1989 during flights from NASA's Wallops Flight Center, Virginia, and Natal, Brazil. The majority of the intercomparisons are at DMS mixing ratios <50 pptv. Results show that instrument agreement is of the order of a few pptv for mixing ratios <50 pptv and to within about 15% above 50 pptv. Statistically significant (95% confidence) measurement biases were noted among some of the techniques. However, in all cases, any bias is small and within the accuracy of the measurements and prepared DMS standards. Thus, we conclude that the techniques intercompared during CITE 3 provide equally valid measurements of DMS in the range of a few pptv to 100 pptv (upper range of the intercomparisons).

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