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Carbon Cycle Group

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The long-term increase of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) in the global atmosphere is a matter of concern not only to scientists but also to politicians and the society. This increase is caused to a large extent by man's activities, and may lead to significant changes in climate on Earth.

The carbon cycle group at the Institute of Environmental Physics investigates the bio–geochemical cycles of the greenhouse gases mentioned above as well as other trace gases such as hydrogen (H2) and carbon monoxide (CO) with the ultimate aim to quantitatively understand their atmospheric budgets We are measuring these trace gase mole fractions as well as their isotope ratios (13C/12C, 14C/C and 18O/16O in CO2 as well as 13C/12C and 2H/H (D) in CH4) at a number of globally distributed sites in the atmosphere and close to their sources. To derive exchange fluxes between the atmosphere and other associated compartments (such as the terrestrial biosphere and the oceans) and establish regional and global budgets of the respective gases the observations are evaluated by means of atmospheric transport models and by applying atmospheric transport tracers such as sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) and 222Radon.


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