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A high-precision method for measurement of paleoatmospheric CO2 in small polar ice samples

  • Jinho Ahn (a1), Edward J. Brook (a1) and Kate Howell (a1)
Abstract

We describe a high-precision method, now in use in our laboratory, for measuring the CO2 mixing ratio of ancient air trapped in polar ice cores. Occluded air in ice samples weighing ∼8–15 g is liberated by crushing with steel pins at −35°C and trapped at −263°C in a cryogenic cold trap. CO2 in the extracted air is analyzed using gas chromatography. Replicate measurements for several samples of high-quality ice from the Siple Dome and Taylor Dome Antarctic ice cores have pooled standard deviations of <0.9 ppm. This high-precision technique is directly applicable to high-temporal-resolution studies for detection of small CO2 variations, for example CO2 variations of a few parts per million on millennial to decadal scales.

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References
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Journal of Glaciology
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