Methane isotopic analysis
CH4 is the second most important anthropogenically emitted greenhouse gas after CO2. Its mole fraction has increased from around 722 ppb in pre-industrial times to 1824 ppb in 2013 and the anthropogenic fraction is estimated to be 60 % of the total emissions. A promising approach to improve the understanding of the CH4 budget is the use of isotopologues to distinguish between various CH4 source processes.
Real-time analysis of δ13C- and δD-CH4 in ambient air with laser spectroscopy
Our group uses state-of-the-art QCLAS to continuously monitor 12CH4, 13CH4 and CH3D, and the respective isotope ratios δ13C-CH4 and δD-CH4. Within an ongoing project, we have realized a field-deployable, autonomous platform by coupling a compact QCLAS spectrometer to a preconcentration unit, called TRace gas EXtractor (TREX). This unit enhances CH4 mole fractions by a factor of up to 500 above ambient levels and quantitatively separates interfering trace gases such as N2O and CO2 (Eyer et al. 2014, Eyer et al., 2016).