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Assessment of the global N2O budget based on seasonal and long-term isotope measurements at Jungfraujoch and the Cape Grim Air Archive

Applicant Mohn Joachim
Number 163075
Funding scheme Project funding
Research institution Luftfremdstoffe / Umwelttechnik 500 - Mobility, Energy and Environment EMPA
Institution of higher education Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology - EMPA
Main discipline Climatology. Atmospherical Chemistry, Aeronomy
Start/End 01.12.2016 - 30.11.2019
Approved amount 255'725.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Climatology. Atmospherical Chemistry, Aeronomy
Other disciplines of Earth Sciences

Keywords (5)

isotopologues; Jungfraujoch; global budget; Cape Grim Air Archive; nitrous oxide

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Lachgas (N2O) ist ein wichtiges Treibhausgas und weist ein starkes Ozonzerstörungspotential auf. Es wird durch eine Reihe natürlicher und anthropogener Prozesse gebildet, wobei die Emissionen aus Böden unter erhöhten Stickstoffeinträgen dominieren. Obwohl die globalen Quell - und Senkenstärken recht gut bekannt sind, ist es auf Grund der grossen räumlichen und zeitlichen Variabilität der Lachgasfreisetzung schwierig, den Beitrag einzelner Bildungsprozesse zu bestimmen. Ausserdem sind die Ursachen für die saisonalen und zwischenjährlichen Variationen der atmosphärischen N2O Konzentration kaum bekannt.
Lay summary

Um ein besseres Verständnis der N2O Quellprozesse zu erlangen, werden im vorliegenden Projekt Prozessinformationen durch die hochpräzise Bestimmung der stabilen N2O Isotope in Umgebungsluft gewonnen und mit Hilfe von Atmosphärenmodellen interpretiert. Insbesondere werden Gasproben des Cape Grim Atmosphären-Archivs der letzten 30 Jahre analysiert, um langjährige Trends und saisonale Variationen der N2O Isotopenzusammensetzung in der Südhemisphäre zu bestimmen. Zusätzlich werden saisonale und zwischenjährlichen Variationen der N2O Isotopenzusammensetzung in der Süd- und der Nordhemisphäre in den nächsten beiden Jahren durch eine monatliche (Cape Grim) bzw. wöchentlich (Jungfraujoch) Probenahme analysiert. Die Messergebnisse werden mit verschiedenen Boxmodellen interpretiert, um Änderungen in der N2O Isotopensignatur der anthropogenen Quelle und Variationen in der Stärke von Quell- und Senkenprozesse zu bestimmen. Damit sollen die folgenden Forschungsfragen beantwortet werden:

  • Hat sich die globale anthropogene N2O Quellsignatur in den letzten 30 Jahren verändert? Wurden diese Veränderung durch Änderungen der Quellprozesse oder des Klimas hervorgerufen?
  • Wie unterscheidet sich die N2O Isotopenzusammensetzung in der Nord- und der Süd-Hemisphäre? Entspricht dies den erwarteten Quellprozessen in den beiden Hemisphären?
  • Welche Informationen über Ursachen der Saisonalität und der zwischenjährlichen Variationen der N2O Konzentration können wir aus der Bestimmung der N2O Isotopenzusammensetzung gewinnen?

 

Die vorliegende Untersuchung wird unser Verständnis des globalen N2O Kreislaufs verbessern und damit die Entwicklung von Modellen ermöglichen, mit deren Hilfe die N2O Atmosphärenkonzentration in Folge von Klima- und Bevölkerungsänderungen besser vorhergesagt werden kann. Dies ermöglicht auch die Entwicklung von gezielten N2O Minderungsmassnahmen.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 20.12.2016

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Name Institute

Publications

Publication
Isotopically characterised N2O reference materials for use as community standards
Mohn Joachim, Biasi Christina, Bodé Samuel, Boeckx Pascal, Brewer Paul J., Eggleston Sarah, Geilmann Heike, Guillevic Myriam, Kaiser Jan, Kantnerová Kristýna, Moossen Heiko, Müller Joanna, Nakagawa Mayuko, Pearce Ruth, Rein Isabell, Steger David, Toyoda Sakae, Wanek Wolfgang, Wexler Sarah K., Yoshida Naohiro, Yu Longfei (2022), Isotopically characterised N2O reference materials for use as community standards, in Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 36(13), e9296.
What can we learn from N2O isotope data? – Analytics, processes and modelling
Yu Longfei, Harris Eliza, Lewicka‐Szczebak Dominika, Barthel Matti, Blomberg Margareta R.A., Harris Stephen J., Johnson Matthew S., Lehmann Moritz F., Liisberg Jesper, Müller Christoph, Ostrom Nathaniel E., Six Johan, Toyoda Sakae, Yoshida Naohiro, Mohn Joachim (2020), What can we learn from N2O isotope data? – Analytics, processes and modelling, in Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 34(20), e8858.
The isotopic composition of atmospheric nitrous oxide observed at the high-altitude research station Jungfraujoch, Switzerland
Yu Longfei, Harris Eliza, Henne Stephan, Eggleston Sarah, Steinbacher Martin, Emmenegger Lukas, Zellweger Christoph, Mohn Joachim (2020), The isotopic composition of atmospheric nitrous oxide observed at the high-altitude research station Jungfraujoch, Switzerland, in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 20(11), 6495-6519.
N2O isotopocule measurements using laser spectroscopy: analyzer characterization and intercomparison
Harris Stephen J., Liisberg Jesper, Xia Longlong, Wei Jing, Zeyer Kerstin, Yu Longfei, Barthel Matti, Wolf Benjamin, Kelly Bryce F. J., Cendón Dioni I., Blunier Thomas, Six Johan, Mohn Joachim (2020), N2O isotopocule measurements using laser spectroscopy: analyzer characterization and intercomparison, in Atmospheric Measurement Techniques, 13(5), 2797-2831.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Mr. Paul Krummel, Dr. Paul Steele / CSIRO Australia (Oceania)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Prof. Naohiro Yoshida / Tokyo Tech Japan (Asia)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Stephen Harris / UNSW Australia (Oceania)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Prof. Klaus Butterbach Bahl / IMK-IFU Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Dr. Matthew Rigby / University of Bristol Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Prof. Thomas Blunier / University of Copenhagen Denmark (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
AGU Fall Meeting 2019 Poster Seasonal Patterns and Trends of N2O Isotopes Observed in the Unpolluted Atmosphere 09.12.2019 San Francisco, United States of America Yu Longfei; Zellweger Christoph; Mohn Joachim;
N2O Isotope Workshop: What can we learn from N2O isotope data? Talk given at a conference A user’s guide for accurate N2O isotopocule measurements using laser spectroscopy 23.10.2019 Dübendorf, Switzerland Mohn Joachim; Yu Longfei;
N2O Isotope Workshop: What can we learn from N2O isotope data? Poster Seasonal patterns and trends of N2O isotopes observed in the unpolluted atmosphere 23.10.2019 Dübendorf, Switzerland Mohn Joachim; Yu Longfei;
European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2018 Talk given at a conference Seasonal patterns of atmospheric N2O isotopic composition observed at the alpine station Jungfraujoch, Switzerland 08.04.2019 Vienna, Austria Mohn Joachim; Yu Longfei; Zellweger Christoph;
DASIM Conference "Tracing denitrification" Talk given at a conference Seasonal patterns of atmospheric N2O isotopic composition at the alpine station Jungfraujoch, Switzerland 12.03.2019 Giessen, Germany Mohn Joachim; Yu Longfei; Zellweger Christoph;
IsoCycles 2017 Reaching an integrated use of stable isotopes to constrain biogeochemical nutrient cycles Poster N2O isotopic composition at the high-altitude station Jungfraujoch 15.10.2017 Ascona, Switzerland Mohn Joachim; Zellweger Christoph; Yu Longfei;
19th WMO/IAEA Meeting on Carbon Dioxide, Other Greenhouse Gases, and Related Measurement Techniques (GGMT-2017) Poster Measurement of N2O isotopes at the high-altitude station Jungfraujoch 27.08.2017 Dübendorf, Switzerland Mohn Joachim; Yu Longfei; Zellweger Christoph;


Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
172585 N2O from the Swiss midlands - regional sources and hot spots - 18 month extension 01.06.2017 Project funding
170876 Advanced understanding of autotrophic nitrogen removal and associated N2O emissions in mixed nitritation-anammox systems through combined stable ISOtopic and MOLecular constraints (ISOMOL) 01.09.2017 Sinergia
125336 Kontinuierliche Bestimmung von N2O Isotopomeren in Umgebungsluft mittels Quantenkaskadenlaser-Absorptionspektrometrie 01.11.2009 Project funding
150237 N2O from the Swiss midlands - regional sources and hot spots 01.06.2014 Project funding
183294 QCL4CLUMPS: Simultaneous QC laser spectroscopic analysis of clumped 13C-D and D-D (2 x 2) isotopes in CH4 01.03.2020 R'EQUIP

Abstract

N2O is a strong greenhouse gas and an important ozone depleting substance released from a range of natural sources and anthropogenic activities. Anthropogenic sources of N2O are dominated by disperse and highly variable agricultural soil emissions, which, combined with the long lifetime of N2O, makes source apportionment and thus mitigation challenging. Although the total global source and sink strengths for N2O are relatively well constrained, individual source contributions and, in particular, the factors causing seasonality and interannual variability in N2O mixing ratio and growth rate are poorly known. Measurement and model studies suggest source variability is the dominant factor causing variations in N2O mixing ratios on an interannual scale, rather than changing strength of stratosphere troposphere exchange. Isotope measurements combined with modelling show great potential to unravel sources, however currently N2O isotope measurements with the required spatial and temporal coverage and precision are not available.The aim of this study is to assess the global N2O budget by providing for the first time high precision data (d15Na, d15Nb, d18O: <0.1‰) showing seasonal and interannual changes in the site-specific N2O isotopic composition, in combination with a modelling approach for data interpretation. We propose to measure long-term trends and interannual variability using 30 years of archived air samples from the Cape Grim Air Archive, Australia. In addition, seasonal and intra-annual variability will be examined at higher temporal resolution over two years based on flask sampling at remote measuring stations in the southern (Cape Grim, monthly sampling) and northern (Jungfraujoch, weekly sampling) hemispheres. Concentration and isotopic composition analyses for all samples will be carefully calibrated to ensure traceability and comparability with other studies into the future. The isotopic data will be interpreted using various box modelling approaches to identify in particular changes in the isotopic signature of the anthropogenic source, as well as variations in sources and sinks responsible for seasonality and interannual variability. These results will be used to address three major research questions:• Has the global anthropogenic source isotopic signature changed over the past 30 years? How does this reflect changes in source identity and climate?• What is the difference in N2O isotopic composition between the northern and southern hemispheres, in particular isotopic site preference? Does this agree with expectations based on hemispheric source estimates?• What can isotopic composition changes tell us about the major drivers of seasonality and interannual variability in N2O mixing ratio and growth rate?This study will improve our understanding of the global N2O cycle, facilitating the development of models to predict changes in N2O emissions in response to climate and societal changes in the coming decades. These results will aid in the development of targeted mitigation policies to reduce future N2O emissions.
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