NOAA and Boeing are teaming up to evaluate the best placement for a NOAA greenhouse gas sampling system on a commercial jet by testing options on a new Boeing 737 as part of Boeing’s 2021 ecoDemonstrator flying test bed program.

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This is a first step toward an expansion of NOAA’s global atmospheric sampling network to include commercial airliners in the U.S. and International airlines in these critical data-gathering efforts.

In the coming weeks, scientists with NOAA’s Global Monitoring Laboratory will oversee installation of three different air sampling inlet configurations on an Alaska Airlines 737-9, one of about 20 different technologies to be included in Boeing’s annual ecoDemonstrator program.

During test flights this summer and fall, NOAA scientists will be focused on identifying the best way to sample air outside the commercial airplane to minimize contamination. Air for greenhouse gas measurements will be collected from a duct that feeds outside air into the airplane’s interior, and from two inlets mounted in a window plug for comparison.

“The ecoDemonstrator program provides NOAA an unparalleled opportunity to test our greenhouse gas sampling system on a civilian airliner,” said Colm Sweeney, lead scientist for the NOAA Global Monitoring Laboratory’s aircraft measurements program. “Standardizing the location and installation of greenhouse gas monitoring instruments on commercial aircraft will be an important first step in expanding our sampling network to provide data for scientists and policymakers interested in understanding greenhouse gas emissions that are driving climate change.”

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