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Dlugokencky, E. J., R. C. Myers, P. M. Lang, K. A. Masarie, A. M. Crotwell, K. W. Thoning, B. D. Hall, J. W. Elkins and L. P. Steele, (2005), Conversion of NOAA atmospheric dry air CH4 mole fractions to a gravimetrically prepared standard scale, JGR-Atmospheres, 110, D18, , doi:10.1029/2005JD006035

Abstract

Sixteen mixtures of methane (CH4) in dry air were prepared using a gravimetric technique to define a CH4 standard gas scale covering the nominal range 300-2600 nmol mol(-1). It is designed to be suitable for measurements of methane in air ranging from those extracted from glacial ice to contemporary background atmospheric conditions. All standards were prepared in passivated, 5.9 L high-pressure aluminum cylinders. Methane dry air mole fractions were determined by gas chromatography with flame ionization detection, where the repeatability of the measurement is typically better than 0.1% (<= 1.5 nmol mol(-1)) for ambient CH4 levels. Once a correction was made for 5 nmol mol(-1) CH4 in the diluent air, the scale was used to verify the linearity of our analytical system over the nominal range 300-2600 nmol mol(-1). The gravimetrically prepared standards were analyzed against CH4 in air standards that define the Climate Monitoring and Diagnostics Laboratory (CMDL) CMDL83 CH4 in air scale, showing that CH4 mole fractions in the new scale are a factor of (1.0124 +/- 0.0007) greater than those expressed in the CMDL83 scale. All CMDL measurements of atmospheric CH4 have been adjusted to this new scale, which has also been accepted as the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) CH4 standard scale; all laboratories participating in the WMO Global Atmosphere Watch program should report atmospheric CH4 measurements to the world data center on this scale.