Radiocarbon analysis of methane at the NERC Radiocarbon Facility (East Kilbride)

Garnett, M.H. , Murray, C. , Gulliver, P. and Ascough, P.L. (2019) Radiocarbon analysis of methane at the NERC Radiocarbon Facility (East Kilbride). Radiocarbon, 61(5), pp. 1477-1487. (doi: 10.1017/RDC.2019.3)

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Methane is the second most important anthropogenically produced greenhouse gas, and radiocarbon (14C) analysis is extremely valuable in identifying its age and source in the environment. At the NERC Radiocarbon Facility (East Kilbride, UK) we have developed expertise in analysis of methane 14C concentration and methodological approaches to field sampling over the past 20 years. This has opened a wide range of applications, which have mainly focused on (1) the age and source of methane emitted by peatlands and organic soils (e.g. to quantify the release of ancient carbon), (2) the source of aquatic emissions of methane, and (3) the age of methane generated by amenity and illegal landfill. Many of these scientifically important applications involve challenging sampling and measurement considerations, which our development program has continually aimed to overcome. Here, we describe our current methods, and recent improvements to aid field collection of samples in remote locations. We present the results of tests which (1) show the effectiveness of our methods to remove contaminants, especially CO2, (2) quantify the 14C background contribution, and (3) demonstrate the reliability of metal gas storage canisters for sample storage.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:We are grateful to the UK Natural Environment Research Council for funding.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Gulliver, Dr Pauline and Garnett, Dr Mark and Ascough, Dr Philippa and Murray, Mr Callum
Authors: Garnett, M.H., Murray, C., Gulliver, P., and Ascough, P.L.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:Radiocarbon
Publisher:University of Arizona
ISSN (Online):1945-5755
Published Online:24 April 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona
First Published:First published in Radiocarbon 61(5): 1477-1487
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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