Scientists from CarboAfrica, a programme to study the carbon cycle and other greenhouse gases (GHG) in Sub-Saharan Africa, have announced the successful installation and operation of the Picarro G1301 GHG monitor at a remote field site in equatorial West Africa.

This Ivory Coast location of Station de Géophysique de Lamto is a particularly challenging spot for remote monitoring equipment, due to it’s high humidity and ambient temperature characteristics, that can easily exceed 40°C.

The Picarro G1301 utilises WS-CRDS (wavelength-scanned cavity ring down spectroscopy) technology to deliver simultaneous and continuous measurements of both methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2) at a precision of parts per billion.

Immunity from cross-talk enables it to achieve this precision with ambient samples, without the need for drying or any other purification. The Picarro analyser is located in a small building adjacent to a 50 meter tower allowing data to be taken automatically and continuously via a tube terminating at the top of this tower.

The Lamto GHG programme is operated by scientists from the CarboAfrica participants, including the CEA (Commissariat a l'Energie Atomique) in France and the University of Cocody in Ivory Coast.

CEA Co-Director Philippe Ciais explained, “At CarboAfrica, we are setting up a network of monitoring sites throughout Africa, in response to the critical lack of field GHG data from this continent. We need this data to understand the entire GHG picture in Africa, from the natural sink capacity of forested areas to the impact of jungle fires on total GHG emissions.”

Picarro CEO Michael Woelk stated, “Our GHG gas and isotope analysers are proving well-suited to remote, automated and continuous field-monitoring projects. We are particularly pleased to have been selected by the prestigious CEA team for this demanding Lamto installation.”