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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
09 Aug 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).
Intercomparisons of δ13C and δD measurements of atmospheric CH4 for combined use of datasets from different laboratories
Taku Umezawa1,2, Carl A. M. Brenninkmeijer1, Thomas Röckmann3, Carina van der Veen3, Stanley C. Tyler4,5, Ryo Fujita6, Shinji Morimoto6,7, Shuji Aoki6, Todd Sowers8, Jochen Schmitt9, Michael Bock9, Jonas Beck9, Hubertus Fischer9, Sylvia E. Michel10, Bruce H. Vaughn10, John B. Miller10, James W. C. White10, Gordon Brailsford11, Hinrich Schaefer11, Peter Sperlich11, Willi A. Brand12, Michael Rothe12, Thomas Blunier13, David Lowry14, Rebecca E. Fisher14, Euan G. Nisbet14, Andrew L. Rice15, Peter Bergamaschi16, Cordelia Veidt17, and Ingeborg Levin17 1Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, 55128 Mainz, Germany
2National Institute for Environmental Studies, Tsukuba 305-8506, Japan
3Institute for Marine and Atmospheric research Utrecht, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands
4Earth System Science Department, University of California, Irvine, USA
5Chemistry Department, Norco College, Norco, CA 92860, USA
6Center for Atmospheric and Oceanic Studies, Graduate School of Science, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan
7National Institute of Polar Research, Tokyo, Japan
8Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802, USA
9Climate and Environmental Physics, Physics Institute and Oeschger Center for Climate Change Research, University of Bern, Sidlerstrasse 5, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
10Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, USA
11National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, 301 Evans Bay Parade, Wellington 6021, New Zealand
12Max-Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Hans-Knoell-Strasse 10, 07745 Jena, Germany
13Center for Ice and Climate, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
14Department of Earth Sciences, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, UK
15Department of Physics, Portland State University, Portland, OR 97207, USA
16European Commission Joint Research Centre, Ispra (Va), Italy
17Institute for Environmental Physics, Heidelberg University, Im Neuenheimer Feld 229, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany
Abstract. We report results from intercomparison exercises between laboratories that conduct measurements of stable carbon and hydrogen isotope ratios of atmospheric CH413C-CH4 and δD-CH4). The offsets between the laboratories are larger than the measurement reproducibility of individual laboratories. To disentangle plausible offsets between worldwide laboratories, we evaluated and critically assessed a large number of intercomparison results documented previously in the literature. The results indicate significant offsets of δ13C-CH4 and δD-CH4 measurements among datasets reported from different laboratories; the data spread over ranges of 0.5 ‰ for δ13C-CH4 and 13 ‰ for δD-CH4. The intercomparison results summarized in this study may be of help when combining isotope datasets from different laboratories in future studies.

Citation: Umezawa, T., Brenninkmeijer, C. A. M., Röckmann, T., van der Veen, C., Tyler, S. C., Fujita, R., Morimoto, S., Aoki, S., Sowers, T., Schmitt, J., Bock, M., Beck, J., Fischer, H., Michel, S. E., Vaughn, B. H., Miller, J. B., White, J. W. C., Brailsford, G., Schaefer, H., Sperlich, P., Brand, W. A., Rothe, M., Blunier, T., Lowry, D., Fisher, R. E., Nisbet, E. G., Rice, A. L., Bergamaschi, P., Veidt, C., and Levin, I.: Intercomparisons of δ13C and δD measurements of atmospheric CH4 for combined use of datasets from different laboratories, Atmos. Meas. Tech. Discuss.,, in review, 2017.
Taku Umezawa et al.
Taku Umezawa et al.
Taku Umezawa et al.


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Short summary
Isotope measurements are useful to separate different methane sources. However, lack of widely accepted standards and calibration methods for isotope measurements of methane in air has caused significant offsets between laboratories; the unknown inter-lab offsets have hampered synthesis analysis using a merged dataset. We conducted intercomparison exercises and surveyed intercomparisons in the literature, and assessed them systematically for future optimised use of methane isotope datasets.
Isotope measurements are useful to separate different methane sources. However, lack of widely...