Estimating and attributing greenhouse gas fluxes using radiocarbon – Dr. Heather Graven, Imperial College London

November 2, 2020 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Radiocarbon is a valuable tracer used in various applications that exploit the natural production and decay of radiocarbon, or the “bomb” radiocarbon produced by nuclear weapons testing in the 1950s and 60s. In atmospheric science and biogeochemistry, carbon added by fossil fuel sources can be quantified using radiocarbon because fossil-derived carbon has no radiocarbon, in contrast to biologically-derived carbon. I will present recent observation-based estimates of fossil fuel CO2 emissions in California using radiocarbon, demonstrating that this technique can provide independent validation of reported fossil fuel CO2 emissions. I will also present on current work developing new methods for observing radiocarbon in atmospheric CH4 to constrain fossil vs biological CH4 emissions.

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