• A personal note on IGBP and the social sciences

    Humans are an integral component of the Earth system as conceptualised by IGBP. João Morais recalls key milestones in IGBP’s engagement with the social sciences and offers some words of advice for Future Earth.
  • IGBP and Earth observation:
    a co-evolution

    The iconic images of Earth beamed back by the earliest spacecraft helped to galvanise interest in our planet’s environment. The subsequent evolution and development of satellites for Earth observation has been intricately linked with that of IGBP and other global-change research programmes, write Jack Kaye and Cat Downy .

Analysis of carbon isotopes in airborne carbonate and implications for aeolian sources

Chinese Science Bulletin (2004)
Cao J J, Wang Y, Zhang X, Lee S, Ho K, Cao Y and Li Y (eds)
Doi: 10.1360/03wd0375
Vol 49; Issue 15; pp. 1637-1641

Methods were developed to determine the mass ratios of carbon isotopes in trace amounts of aerosol carbonate. A Finnigan MAT 252 mass spectrometer fitted with an on-line Kiel device was to determine the13C/12C ratio in CO2 produced from the carbonate. A study using these methods was conducted to characterize the carbonate carbon isotopes in aerosol samples collected in Xi’an on dusty and normal days during March and April 2002. Results of the study demonstrate that insights into the origin of the dust can be deduced from its isotopic composition. That is, the δ13C of carbonate for dust storm samples ranged from −1.4‰ to -4.2‰, and this is consistent with sandy materials in dust source regions upwind. In contrast, for non-dusty days δ13C ranged from −7.5% to -9.3‰, which is more similar to fine particles emitted from local surface soils. Comparisons of dust storm aerosols with surface soils from source regions and with aerosol samples collected downwind indicate that the δ13C values did not change appreciably during long-range transport. Therefore, carbon isotopes have the potential for distinguishing among source materials, and this approach provides a powerful new tool for identifying dust provenance.

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