Press Releases

New Picarro Instruments Radically Simplify Quantification of Man-made Versus Naturally Occurring Greenhouse Gases

SUNNYVALE, California,  March 29 - Picarro, the maker of the world’s leading instruments for carbon and water cycle measurements announced today the launch of two new gas concentration analyzers designed to dramatically improve the ability of scientists to measure and trace greenhouse gases (GHGs) emanating from urban centers or biomass combustion.  The G2401 and G2401-m models are the first gas concentration analyzers to incorporate simultaneous measurement of four distinct molecular species -  carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and water vapor (H2O) - at precision levels  that meet the World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) data quality objectives.

Although CO is not a greenhouse gas, it is chiefly a product of fossil fuel or biomass combustion and can be used as a tracer for these processes. Researchers compare continuous CO measurements against CO2 measurements to differentiate natural background GHG concentrations from GHG generated by fossil fuel or biomass combustion. These compact new Picarro systems make it far easier to quantify this critical differential using a single instrument. The G2401 is designed for long-term observations atop telecommunication towers, buildings, or mountains. The G2401-m is designed for mobile measurement platforms and was engineered  to endure extended airborne operations characterized by rapid changes in altitude and pressure, and significant vibrations. Unlike other gas analyzers, Picarro instruments incorporate sophisticated temperature and pressure control systems designed to ensure reliable spectroscopic performance and high precision measurements even in unforgiving environments. 

“With these two new products, we are responding to requests from our customers for a better way to trace greenhouse gases created by burning,” says Michael Woelk, CEO of Picarro. “The ability to simultaneously measure these gases  with a single analyzer radically simplifies measurements and reduces capital equipment costs by eliminating the need for multiple instruments. It’s a breakthrough that will empower scientists to quickly and continuously measure and attribute greenhouse gas emissions to either man or nature.”

Initial customers for these analyzers include the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). NASA researchers will use the G2401-m as part of its upcoming Carbon in Arctic Reservoirs Vulnerability Experiment (CARVE) program, a comprehensive effort to measure carbon fluxes and derive carbon budgets for the Arctic with airborne measurements.  NOAA researchers will use the G2401 as part of AirCore, a ground-breaking project that deploys a unique 150 meter sampling tube which can be used in conjunction with balloons, UAV’s and aircraft to collect layered air samples from the upper atmosphere. The two new analyzers should also prove particularly useful for GHG research in urban settings where fossil fuel combustion is most concentrated. 

The release of these  analyzers further strengthens Picarro’s deep commitment to atmospheric science, a field of research where Picarro instruments are already considered the global gold standard and the benchmark for WMO inter-comparability standards. Picarro instruments are used by all the world’s major GHG measurement networks, including Earth Networks. Launched in January, 2011, Earth Networks will be the world’s largest GHG measurement network with more than 100 Picarro analyzers slated for deployment around the world over the next five years. Picarro’s customer base includes institutions in more than 50 countries on all seven continents. Those customers comprise top universities (Harvard, Stanford, Cambridge, Nanjing University), top research organizations (NOAA, Australia’s CSIRO and the China Meteorological Administration), top government regulatory agencies (the German, Irish and U.S. Environmental Protection Agencies), and the world’s largest corporations (Waste Management Inc., Alcan). With a relentless commitment to technology innovation, Picarro works closely with these and other customers to produce unique instruments that convert any location on Earth into a 24/7 world-class science lab.