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Title: GreenHouse gas Observations of the Stratosphere and Troposphere (GHOST): an airborne shortwave-infrared spectrometer for remote sensing of greenhouse gases
Authors: Humpage, Neil
Boesch, Hartmut
Palmer, Paul I.
Vick, Andy
Parr-Burman, Phil
Wells, Martyn
Pearson, David
Strachan, Jonathan
Bezawada, Naidu
First Published: 12-Sep-2018
Publisher: European Geosciences Union (EGU), Copernicus Publications
Citation: Atmospheric Measurement Techniques, 2018, 11 (9), pp. 5199-5222 (24)
Abstract: GHOST is a novel, compact shortwave-infrared grating spectrometer, designed for remote sensing of tropospheric columns of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from an airborne platform. It observes solar radiation at medium to high spectral resolution (better than 0.3nm), which has been reflected by the Earth's surface using similar methods to those used by polar-orbiting satellites such as the JAXA GOSAT mission, NASA's OCO-2, and the Copernicus Sentinel-5 Precursor. By using an original design comprising optical fibre inputs along with a single diffraction grating and detector array, GHOST is able to observe CO2 absorption bands centred around 1.61 and 2.06µm (the same wavelength regions used by OCO-2 and GOSAT) whilst simultaneously measuring CH4 absorption at 1.65µm (also observed by GOSAT) and CH4 and CO at 2.30µm (observed by Sentinel-5P). With emissions expected to become more concentrated towards city sources as the global population residing in urban areas increases, there emerges a clear requirement to bridge the spatial scale gap between small-scale urban emission sources and global-scale GHG variations. In addition to the benefits achieved in spatial coverage through being able to remotely sense GHG tropospheric columns from an aircraft, the overlapping spectral ranges and comparable spectral resolutions mean that GHOST has unique potential for providing validation opportunities for these platforms, particularly over the ocean, where ground-based validation measurements are not available. In this paper we provide an overview of the GHOST instrument, calibration, and data processing, demonstrating the instrument's performance and suitability for GHG remote sensing. We also report on the first GHG observations made by GHOST during its maiden science flights on board the NASA Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle, which took place over the eastern Pacific Ocean in March 2015 as part of the CAST/ATTREX joint Global Hawk flight campaign.
DOI Link: 10.5194/amt-11-5199-2018
ISSN: 1867-1381
eISSN: 1867-8548
Version: Publisher Version
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © the authors, 2018. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Description: GHOST flight data will be made available via the UK Centre for Environmental Data Analysis archive (, last access: 10 September 2018) once the whole data set has been fully processed. The raw data and processing code in their current form can be accessed by contacting Neil Humpage.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy

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