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Title: A Centrifuge-Based Technique for Dry Extraction of Air for Ice Core Studies of Carbon Dioxide
Author: Grachev, A.M. and Brook, E.J.
Periodical: American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2008, abstract #U31A-0012
Abstract: High resolution CO2 data from the Law Dome ice core document an abrupt ~10 ppm drop in CO2 at about 1600 AD (MacFarling Meure et al., Geophys. Res Lett., v. 33, L14810), which has been attributed to changes in human activities. CO2 measurements in ice cores are difficult, however, making verification of this feature an important task. We are undertaking a high-resolution study of CO2 between 1400 and 1800 AD in the WAIS Divide (Antarctica) ice core with a new dry extraction technique. The need for a dry extraction technique as opposed to a melt-refreeze technique in studies of CO2 from ice cores arises because of the well-documented artifacts in CO2 imposed by the presence of liquid water. Three dry-extraction methods have been employed by previous workers to measure CO2: needle-crushing method, ball-bearings method, and cheese-grater method (B. Stauffer, in: Encyclopedia of Quaternary Science, p. 1181, Elsevier 2007). Each has limitations, and we propose a simpler dry extraction technique, based on a large-capacity refrigerated centrifuge (the "centrifuge technique"), which eliminates the need to employ cryogenic temperatures to collect extracted gas and is more compatible with high sample throughput. The technique is now being tested on ~25-gram WAIS Divide samples in conjunction with CO2 measurements with a gas chromatograph. The technique employs a Beckman J- 6B centrifuge, in which evacuated stainless steel flask is placed: the flask has a weight inside positioned directly over a tall-standing piece of ice whose cross-section is small compared to that of the flask. Upon acceleration to 3000 rpm the weight moves down and presses the ice sample into a thin tablet covering flask's bottom, yielding the air extraction efficiency of ~80%. Preliminary tests suggest that precision and accuracy can be achieved at the level of ~1 ppm once the system is fine-tuned.
Year: 2008