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Clumped Isotopes

Reconstructing atmospheric oxidation processes in the past with clumped isotope measurements in O2 trapped in polar firn and ice air

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "Clumped Isotopes" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
postcode: 3584 CS

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Netherlands [NL]
 Total cost 177˙598 €
 EC max contribution 177˙598 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.3.2. (Nurturing excellence by means of cross-border and cross-sector mobility)
 Code Call H2020-MSCA-IF-2016
 Funding Scheme MSCA-IF-EF-ST
 Starting year 2017
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2017-09-25   to  2019-09-24


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    UNIVERSITEIT UTRECHT NL (UTRECHT) coordinator 177˙598.00


 Project objective

Air trapped in polar ice cores provides a unique archive of atmospheric composition in the past. However, reactive gases are not stable in ice core air, and therefore no paleo-proxies exist that allow reconstructing the oxidation capacity of the past atmosphere from ice cores. Recent study shows that isotope exchange between highly reactive oxygen atoms (O(3P)) and relatively non-reactive O2 in the atmosphere imprints an isotope signal in the “clumped” isotopic composition of atmospheric O2, which can be a tracer for the abundance of O(3P) in the troposphere. Clumped isotopes are isotopologues containing more than one heavy isotope (e.g., 18O18O), and they are now detectable at high precision using modern technology. I propose here to develop these novel clumped isotope measurements on O2 into a tool to reconstruct the oxidative capacity in the past atmosphere from O2 trapped in firn and ice core air. I will first verify the hypothesis that the large clumped isotope signal originates from fast O(3P)O2 exchange at low temperatures in the stratosphere, and that this signal is only partially erased by further exchange in the troposphere, where much lower O(3P) and higher temperatures prevail. Clumped isotope analyses on O2 trapped in ice cores will then be used to decipher past variations in atmospheric oxidation processes with a temporal resolution of decades to millennia. I am particularly interested in determining the effects of both natural (glacial-interglacial) climate variability and anthropogenic climate change associated with fossil fuel combustion on oxidation processes in the atmosphere. My experience in the field of clumped isotopes fits perfectly to the expertise of the host group in atmospheric research using isotopes, and the project will make use of the new world-leading high precision isotope ratio mass spectrometer MAT 253 ULTRA facility that will enable measurement of all 6 isotopologues of O2, including the rarest one, 17O17O, for the first time.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2019 Amzad H. Laskar, Rahul Peethambaran, Getachew A. Adnew, Thomas Röckmann
Measurement of 18 O 18 O and 17 O 18 O in atmospheric O 2 using the 253 Ultra mass spectrometer and applications to stratospheric and tropospheric air samples
published pages: 981-994, ISSN: 0951-4198, DOI: 10.1002/rcm.8434
Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 33/11 2020-01-27

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