Molecule of the Month
September 2021
On the Track of the Swiss Methane Emissions Using Atmospheric 14CH4 Measurements

Methane (CH4) contributes to about a third of today's anthropogenic global warming. Radiocarbon (14C) measurements of atmospheric CH4 can be used to track its origin: either from biogenic sources (such as agriculture, waste handling, lakes/reservoirs or wetlands) or from fossil sources (e.g. fossil-fuel combustion or leakages from natural gas networks).
Based on a novel CH4 extraction setup, we want to extend the number of atmospheric 14CH4 measurements within the new-starting interdisciplinary SNSF-project RICH, which aims to develop a national radiocarbon inventory of Switzerland for all compartments of the ecosystem.

This work was carried out in the group of Prof. Dr. Sönke Szidat.


  • C. Espic, M. Liechti, M. Battaglia, D. Paul, T. Röckmann, S. Szidat;
    "Compound-specific radiocarbon analysis of atmospheric methane: a new preconcentration and purification setup"
    Radiocarbon, 2019, 61(51), 1461-1476; doi:10.1017/RDC.2019.76.
  • T. Eglinton, H. Graven, S. Szidat, F. Hagedorn;
    "Radiocarbon Inventories of Switzerland (RICH): An integrated approach to understand the changing carbon cycle"
    Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), 2020;