UAS Chromatograph for Atmospheric Trace Species (UCATS) – a versatile instrument for trace gas measurements on airborne platforms Journal Article uri icon



  • Abstract. UCATS (the UAS Chromatograph for Atmospheric Trace Species) was designed and built for observations of important atmospheric trace gases from unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UT/LS). Initially it measured major chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and the stratospheric transport tracers nitrous oxide (N2O) and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), using gas chromatography with electron capture detection. Compact ozone (O3) and water vapor (H2O) instruments were added to enhance science missions on platforms with relatively small payloads. Over the past decade, UCATS has been reconfigured to measure methane (CH4), carbon monoxide (CO), and molecular hydrogen (H2) instead of CFCs and has undergone numerous upgrades to its subsystems. It has served as part of large payloads on stratospheric UAS missions to probe the tropical tropopause region and transport of air into the stratosphere, in piloted aircraft studies of greenhouse gases, transport, and chemistry in the troposphere, and will soon return to the study of stratospheric ozone depletion, one of the original goals for UCATS. Each deployment brought different challenges, which were largely met or resolved. The design, capabilities, modifications and some results from UCATS are shown and described here, including changes for upcoming missions.;

publication date

  • January 25, 2021

has restriction

  • green

Date in CU Experts

  • June 2, 2021 11:10 AM

Full Author List

  • Hintsa EJ; Moore FL; Hurst DF; Dutton GS; Hall BD; Nance JD; Miller BR; Montzka SA; Wolton LP; McClure-Begley A

author count

  • 26

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