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UI researchers help to improve carbon measurements in global climate studies
Date:11/14/2008

ngineering, Universidad Andres Bello, Santiago, Chile, and the Molina Center for Energy and the Environment, MIT; Youhua Tang, formerly of CGRER and now at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Scientific Applications International Corporation (NOAA/SAIC); Jerald Schnoor, professor of civil and environmental engineering and CGRER co-director; and Charles Stanier, assistant professor of chemical and biochemical engineering, and assistant research engineer at IIHR-Hydroscience and Engineering.

In the paper, Campbell and his colleagues show that measurements of carbonyl sulfide (COS), a naturally occurring atmospheric gas consumed by plants, can be related to plant uptake of carbon dioxide. The hope is that future work can exploit this relationship to reduce uncertainty in carbon dioxide fluxes. The paper tells how COS analysis may be used as a measurement-based photosynthesis tracer.

"We've always looked at the total change in CO2, but now we can look for the influence of photosynthesis on this total change," remarked Campbell. "Our approach, based on the relation of carbonyl sulfide to photosynthesis, gives us this unique ability."

The researchers used a NASA aircraft and NASA/NOAA funding to gather and analyze airborne observations of COS and carbon dioxide concentrations during the growing season over North America with a 3-D atmospheric transport model. They note that the study likely will result in additional measurements of COS being added to current carbon networks.

They plan to continue their work and use data from the NOAA-supported Iowa Tall Tower atmospheric measurement site in West Branch, Iowa, some 10 miles from the UI campus.


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Contact: Gary Galluzzo
gary-galluzzo@uiowa.edu
319-384-0009
University of Iowa
Source:Eurekalert

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