Interlaboratory comparison of δ13C and δd measurements of atmospheric CH4 for combined use of data sets from different laboratories

Taku Umezawa, Carl A.M. Brenninkmeijer, Thomas Röckmann, Carina Van Der Veen, Stanley C. Tyler, Ryo Fujita, Shinji Morimoto, Shuji Aoki, Todd Sowers, Jochen Schmitt, Michael Bock, Jonas Beck, Hubertus Fischer, Sylvia E. Michel, Bruce H. Vaughn, John B. Miller, James W.C. White, Gordon Brailsford, Hinrich Schaefer, Peter SperlichWilli A. Brand, Michael Rothe, Thomas Blunier, David Lowry, Rebecca E. Fisher, Euan G. Nisbet, Andrew L. Rice, Peter Bergamaschi, Cordelia Veidt, Ingeborg Levin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


We report results from a worldwide interlaboratory comparison of samples among laboratories that measure (or measured) stable carbon and hydrogen isotope ratios of atmospheric CH4 (δ13C-CH4 and δD-CH4). The offsets among the laboratories are larger than the measurement reproducibility of individual laboratories. To disentangle plausible measurement offsets, we evaluated and critically assessed a large number of intercomparison results, some of which have been documented previously in the literature. The results indicate significant offsets of δ13C-CH4 and δD-CH4 measurements among data sets reported from different laboratories; the differences among laboratories at modern atmospheric CH4 level spread over ranges of 0.5 % for δ13C-CH4 and 13 % for δD-CH4. The intercomparison results summarized in this study may be of help in future attempts to harmonize δ13C-CH4 and δD-CH4 data sets from different laboratories in order to jointly incorporate them into modelling studies. However, establishing a merged data set, which includes δ13C-CH4 and δD-CH4 data from multiple laboratories with desirable compatibility, is still challenging due to differences among laboratories in instrument settings, correction methods, traceability to reference materials and long-term data management. Further efforts are needed to identify causes of the interlaboratory measurement offsets and to decrease those to move towards the best use of available δ13C-CH4 and δD-CH4 data sets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1207-1231
Number of pages25
JournalAtmospheric Measurement Techniques
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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