An important consideration in four-dimensional CT scanning is the selection of a breathing metric for sorting the CT data and modeling internal motion. This study compared two noninvasive breathing metrics, spirometry and abdominal height, against internal air content, used as a surrogate for internal motion. Both metrics were shown to be accurate, but the spirometry showed a stronger and more reproducible relationship than the abdominal height in the lung. The abdominal height was known to be affected by sensor placement and patient positioning while the spirometer exhibited signal drift. By combining these two, a normalization of the drift-free metric to tidal volume may be generated and the overall metric precision may be improved.