ANSTO among collaborators to major study of greenhouse gases

Air trapped in ice

CSIRO has acknowledged that ANSTO was among the collaborators who contributed to the compilation of the most comprehensive collection of atmospheric greenhouse gas measurements extending back over 2000 years.

The study, which was published in Geoscientific Model Development in early June tracked past and current changes in all 43 greenhouse gases that contribute to human-induced climate change.

CSIRO Principal Research Scientist and report co-author Dr David Etheridge said the paper was one of the largest Australian contributions to global climate change assessments ever.

“These observations clearly show the relentless and near-continuous rise of some of the most important greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide since 1750," said Dr Etheridge.

The compilation was based on numerous efforts by the scientific community to retrieve ice cores and compacted snow in the most remote places on Earth, unlock their secrets by analysing the enclosed air and by investing in a large network of in situ and flask measurement stations across the planet.

Dr Andrew Smith (below right) has collaborated on research in Antarctica and Greenland aimed at determining the historic levels of greenhouse gases.  

 Ice core Andrew Smith

Measurements on air trapped in compacted snow and as bubbles in ice cores are the source of data before direct measurements on the atmosphere began. Together, these are used to reconstruct an atmospheric record for climate researchers,

ANSTO has contributed to this research through its unique capability for precise measurement of the radiocarbon content in miniscule carbon samples, such as those derived from carbon dioxide, methane and carbon monoxide extracted from ice core air bubbles. 

It included collecting a significant ice core in the 2005/06 season at Law Dome, Antarctica.

 

 

Published: 05/06/2017

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