Climate Gases

The main activities of the Group for Climate Gases are centered around the observations of anthropogenic trace gases in the atmosphere. Data are exploited for detection of sources and sinks of these gases as well as trends and their influence on atmospheric chemistry.


Trace Gas Measurements at Jungfraujoch

CLIMGAS-CH / AGAGE: Continuous measurements of halogenated greenhouse gases at the high Alpine site of Jungfraujoch for identification of trends and regional European emissions.

CO2, CH4, N2O and CO: The important greenhouse gases carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and carbon monoxide (CO) are also continuously measured at Jungfraujoch.

Advancement Analytical Techniques
Analytical techniques are constantly improved. The Group for Climate Gases has developed a large expertise in trace gas analysis. The team is specialized in gas chromatography and mass spectrometry analysis, allowing to detect as low as 1 ppq (fmol/mol) of a given trace gas in the atmosphere.
Innovation in Halocarbon Measurements and Emission Validation
IHALOME: Atmospheric halocarbon measurements during two field campaigns in Switzerland, and a campaign in the Netherlands; assessment of regional abundances, emissions and sources of halocarbons; search for new halogenated greenhouse gases by advanced analytical measurement techniques.
Measurements of VOCs in Switzerland

Empa has measured VOCs as part of the Swiss network on air pollution (NABEL) since the 1990s at several locations in Switzerland, ranging from high-Alpine sites to urban hotspots. More explanations on Swiss VOC measurements and data availability can be found here.
These measurements are part of the European RI-URBANS project, the European EMEP system and of the European ACTRIS infrastructure network. In ACTRIS Empa is responsible for data quality checks of VOCs as part of the Topical Center for in-situ trace gases (CiGAS). For this we have developed an automatic quality check tool (@VOC@). @VOC@ ist freely available.

We are part of the EMPIR MetClimVOC project for the production of SI-traceable and long-term stable working standards for VOCs and OVOCs.

Within MetClimVOC we have developed a tool for the automatoc calculation of uncertainties for for VOC measurements (TUCAVOC)
Completed Projects

HIGHGAS: Development of traceable standards with long-term stability for high impact greenhouse gases.

MEDEMPA: Building of the Medusas for Norway and China.

LEMURE: The LEMURE project will advance methods to obtain reliable and independent emission numbers of non-CO2 greenhouse gases, which can be used to check emissions to be reported by the signatory countries within the Kyoto Protocol.

SOGE: To develop a new cost-effective long-term European observation system for halocarbons.

Mehal-GG: First-time top down estimation of halocarbon emissions for Southeastern Europe and the Iberian Peninsula, based on atmospheric measurement campaigns in Finokalía (Crete, Greece) and  Pic du Midi (Pyrenees, France).

ENOVO: Campaign measurements of oxidised volatile organic compounds (OVOCs) at Zürich (urban) and Jungfraujoch (high Alpine, background).

SASHA-THT: The PhD thesis “Sources and Sinks of Hydrogen in the Atmosphere during Transition to Hydrogen-based Transportation” commenced in the summer of 2007.