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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  14 Aug 2020

14 Aug 2020

Review status
This preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

High precision laser spectrometer for multiple greenhouse gas analysis in 1 mL air from ice core samples

Bernhard Bereiter1,3, Béla Tuzson1, Philipp Scheidegger1,2, André Kupferschmid2, Herbert Looser1, Lars Mächler3, Daniel Baggenstos3, Jochen Schmitt3, Hubertus Fischer3, and Lukas Emmenegger1 Bernhard Bereiter et al.
  • 1Laboratory for Air Pollution/Environmental Technology, Empa - Swiss Federal Laboratory for Materials Science andTechnology, 8600 Dübendorf, Switzerland
  • 2Transport at Nanoscale Interfaces, Empa - Swiss Federal Laboratory for Materials Science and Technology, 8600 Dübendorf, Switzerland
  • 3Climate and Environmental Physics and Oeschger Center for Climate Research, University of Bern, 3012 Bern, Switzerland

Abstract. The record of past global background atmospheric greenhouse gas composition is crucial for our understanding of global climate change. The ”Beyond EPICA Oldest Ice Core” project is currently pushing the frontier of this knowledge forward by the retrieval of an ice core reaching back to 1.5 million years ago. The oldest section of this core will have been strongly thinned by glacier flow with about 15 kyr being trapped in as little as 1m thickness of ice. This reduces the available sample volume to only a few mL of air for the targeted century-scale resolution of greenhouse gas records. Under these conditions, the required accuracy for multiple greenhouse gases cannot be achieved with currently available analytical methods.

Here, we present a new approach to unlocking such challenging atmospheric archives with a high-precision mid-IR dual-laser direct absorption spectrometer. The instrument is designed to simultaneously measure CH4, N2O, CO2 concentrations as well as δ13C(CO2) using discrete samples of only 1 mL STP, and it achieves a precision of 1.6 ppb, 1.0 ppb, 0.03 ppm and 0.04 ‰, respectively. Repeated measurement cycles of air samples demonstrate an excellent accuracy level, and high reproducibility of the spectroscopic and the gas handling system. In addition, this non-invasive method allows reuse of the precious gas samples for further analysis, which opens new opportunities in ice core science.

Bernhard Bereiter et al.

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Bernhard Bereiter et al.

Bernhard Bereiter et al.


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