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A passive sampling method for radiocarbon analysis of atmospheric CO<sub>2</sub> using molecular sieve

By M.H. Garnett and I.P. Hartley

Abstract

Radiocarbon (<sup>14</sup>C) analysis of atmospheric CO<sub>2</sub> can provide information on CO<sub>2</sub> sources and is potentially valuable for validating inventories of fossil fuel-derived CO<sub>2</sub> emissions to the atmosphere. We tested zeolite molecular sieve cartridges, in both field and laboratory experiments, for passively collecting atmospheric CO<sub>2</sub>. Cartridges were exposed to the free atmosphere in two configurations which controlled CO<sub>2</sub> trapping rate, allowing collection of sufficient CO<sub>2</sub> in between 1.5 and 10 months at current levels. <sup>14</sup>C results for passive samples were within measurement uncertainty of samples collected using a pump-based system, showing that the method collected samples with <sup>14</sup>C contents representative of the atmosphere. δ<sup>13</sup>C analysis confirmed that the cartridges collected representative CO<sub>2</sub> samples, however, fractionation during passive trapping means that δ<sup>13</sup>C values need to be adjusted by an amount which we have quantified. Trapping rate was proportional to atmospheric CO<sub>2</sub> concentration, and was not affected by exposure time unless this exceeded a threshold. Passive sampling using molecular sieve cartridges provides an easy and reliable method to collect atmospheric CO<sub>2</sub> for <sup>14</sup>C analysis

Topics: GE
Year: 2010
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.gla.ac.uk:26186
Provided by: Enlighten

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