- API data.commerce.gov | Last Updated 2015-03-25T20:59:37.000Z
A system and method for using an air collection device to collect a continuous air sample as the device descends through the atmosphere are provided. The air collection device may be one or more coils of thin-walled elongated hollow tubing having a small interior diameter. The thin-walled elongated hollow tubing may be of a substantially nonreactive and nonabsorptive material such as stainless steel. A valve or the like controls the flow of air into and out of the tubing with one of the ends of the tubing closed and the other of the ends open at the beginning or end of the ascent and closed substantially at the end of the descent to seal the continuous air sample in the air collection device. The air collection device may be insulated and have cushioning. Once the continuous air sample is collected in the air collection device, it is analyzed to determine the presence and mole fraction of trace gases at different altitudes in the atmosphere. A high resolution continuous vertical profile of the trace gas may be created. The air collection device may also be used to store a sample gas using a compressor which draws or pushes the gas into the air collection device over a selected period of time. The stored gas may be analyzed in the same manner as the atmospheric air to obtain a time history of the gas sample.