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Greenhouse Gas Group sets up Atlantic monitoring network

Posted on 23/05/2011

The greenhouse gas group in the Department of EarthSciences, led by Professor Euan Nisbet, has been monitoring the gases CH4and CO2 at the Royal Holloway campus since the 1990’s. Recent developments in cavity ring-down spectrometry now allows very high precision measurements of these gases with very little user intervention or maintenance required, and this means that remote measurement stations can now be set upmuch more easily. Funding from two NERC grants for work on South Atlantic COand Arctic CHhas allowed these instruments to be set up over the past 12 months by laboratory staff Dr. Dave Lowry, Dr. Rebecca Fisher and Mr. Mathias Lanoisellé on Ascension Island, East Falkland and Barra in the Scottish Outer Hebrides. The instruments are now automatically sending data back to RHUL and the European Greenhouse Gas Database every 24 hours.

The Falkland Islands instrument was sailed to the SouthAtlantic onboard the British Antarctic Survey Ship, the RRS James Clark Rossand was set up on board to monitor CO2 and CH4 from 50°Nto 50°S, providing a new data point for each of the gases every 10 seconds. This in combination with new carbon isotope data for methane from samples collected during the cruise is aiding the understanding of methane sources and budgets, particularly in the northern hemisphere.

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