The FIRETRACC project aims are to determine the history of numerous trace gases of both human (pollution) and natural origin over the 20th century in the global atmosphere. This has been achieved by pumping old air out of deep unconsolidated snow (known as firn) that accumulates to depths of around 50 to 100 m on the polar ice caps of both hemispheres. The resulting firn air samples from the Arctic and Antarctic were returned to Europe and the US for multiple gas and isotope analysis in a number of research laboratories. The firn air samples have been analysed for well over eighty separate trace gases (halocarbons, non-methane hydrocarbons, alkyl nitrates, sulphur species, etc.), and thirteen different isotopic measurements of CO2, CH4, CO and permanent gases (O2, N2, Ar, Kr). These are the most comprehensive measurements of past atmospheric composition made to date.
The FIRETRACC project is EU funded (Project reference ENV4970406). The FIRETRACC Scientific Co-ordinator is Dr William Sturges at the University of East Anglia, UK. Other contractors are the NERC British Antarctic Survey (BAS - UK), the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS - France), University of Bern (Switzerland) and the Max-Planck Institute (Germany).
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