Isotope services by RHUL


  • Country: United Kingdom
  • InGOS observations: Isotope laboratory
  • Responsible partner: Royal Holloway, University of London (RHUL)
  • Responsible PI: Dave Lowry (

The Instruments and Their Measurements


GGLES isotope laboratory with 2 Trace Gas IRMS systems

The greenhouse gas laboratory (GGLES) at RHUL has two CRDS instruments and two Trace Gas / IsoPrime mass spectrometer systems for the measurement respectively of mixing ratios and 13C of CH4 (and CO2). The 13C of CH4 can be measured in as little as 75cc of air to a precision averaging 0.04‰ (1sd on triplicate analyses). The system is set up primarily to measure the 13C of 1 to 10 ppm CH4 in air, but measurements of methane fluxes from sources are also regularly made by sample dilution with high purity nitrogen. Each analysis takes less than 20 minutes.

The original system has been making around 8000 analyses of standards and samples per year since 2006. The system was initially calibrated during the Meth-MonitEUr project round-robin in 2004. Current calibration of the isotopic system is by station data comparison with INSTAAR and infrequent sample exchange with NIWA. A second system has been in use since 2012.

Our commitment to InGOS

For InGOS we are offering up to 180 days of analysis in daily units. Each day consists of up to 7 samples analysed in triplicate, plus standards for calibration purposes. So far we have completed more than 100 days of INGOS analyses. While the focus is a better understanding of methane sources and their contribution to background station measurements within Europe we welcome proposals for measurement of samples from monitoring stations and flux campaigns further afield.

Our current network of stations for isotopic analysis is focused on the UK and Arctic regions. While we aim to continue the high northern latitude time series within INGOS we would very much like to start time-series from other parts of Europe, in particular the southern extremities and from the continental interior.

INGOS projects so far have included analysis of regular samples from Svalbard, Finland, Hungary and Azores, campaign / diurnal sampling from Italy and Poland, and cruise samples from the Arctic and North Atlantic. Please submit your applications soon before our INGOS capacity is used up.isotope services2.jpeg

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Landfill plume measured using Picarro G2301 mobile unit to target sample collection for subsequent 13C measurement in the GGLES facility