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A group and I have the opportunity to design a payload that will be sent up some 100,000 ft (~ 30 km) into the atmosphere for approximately 3 hours. In our design, we were going to include gas sensors so that we can measure gas intensity levels as we go up in altitude. Here are four gas sensors we were thinking of getting:

  • CH4
  • O3
  • CO
  • CO2

What other gases would you consider useful for studying about pollutants and the greenhouse effect? Are there any above that wouldn't be very useful?

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Don't know anything about atmospheric chemistry in the context of climate. Nitrogen compounds? Sulfur compounds? Particulates? Is this a up-n-down or will you dwell for a day or two? Or for weeks if this is a circumpolar flight. – dmckee Jan 28 '13 at 3:20
Plug for the Climate Change site proposal: they're in definition phase, so your question wouldn't be answered but it may be welcome to help define its scope. – Alan Rominger Jan 28 '13 at 3:35
Edited original post - the flight will be approximately 3 hours, so up-n-down as you say. – Biff Jan 28 '13 at 4:43
up vote 4 down vote accepted

I would add a humidity sensor, as water vapor is the strongest green house gas .

enter image description here

This graph may suggest other gases

enter image description here


Breakdown of the anthropic greenhouse gas emissions by gas. Source : IPCC, 2007

Here is an article on halocarbons.

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This is great stuff, thanks. – Biff Jan 28 '13 at 21:58

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