Intercomparison of C-14 Analysis of Carbonaceous Aerosols: Exercise 2009

Szidat, Sönke; Bench, G.; Bernardoni, V.; Calzolai, G.; Czimczik, C. I.; Derendorp, L.; Dusek, U.; Elder, K.; Fedi, M. E.; Genberg, J.; Gustafsson, O.; Kirillova, E.; Kondo, M.; McNichol, A. P.; Perron, N.; Santos, G. M.; Stenstrom, K.; Swietlicki, E.; Uchida, M.; Vecchi, R.; ... (2013). Intercomparison of C-14 Analysis of Carbonaceous Aerosols: Exercise 2009. Radiocarbon, 55(2-3), pp. 1496-1509. Arizona Board of Regents, University of Arizona 10.2458/azu_js_rc.55.16314

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Radiocarbon analysis of the carbonaceous aerosol allows an apportionment of fossil and non-fossil sources of airborne particulate matter (PM). A chemical separation of total carbon (TC) into its subfractions organic carbon (OC) and elemental carbon (EC) refines this powerful technique, as OC and EC originate from different sources and undergo different processes in the atmosphere. Although C-14 analysis of TC, EC, and OC has recently gained increasing attention, interlaboratory quality assurance measures have largely been missing, especially for the isolation of EC and OC. In this work, we present results from an intercomparison of 9 laboratories for C-14 analysis of carbonaceous aerosol samples on quartz fiber filters. Two ambient PM samples and 1 reference material (RM 8785) were provided with representative filter blanks. All laboratories performed C-14 determinations of TC and a subset of isolated EC and OC for isotopic measurement. In general, C-14 measurements of TC and OC agreed acceptably well between the laboratories, i.e. for TC within 0.015-0.025 (FC)-C-14 for the ambient filters and within 0.041 (FC)-C-14 for RM 8785. Due to inhomogeneous filter loading, RM 8785 demonstrated only limited applicability as a reference material for C-14 analysis of carbonaceous aerosols. C-14 analysis of EC revealed a large deviation between the laboratories of 28-79 as a consequence of different separation techniques. This result indicates a need for further discussion on optimal methods of EC isolation for C-14 analysis and a second stage of this intercomparison.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences (DCBP)

UniBE Contributor:

Szidat, Sönke, Zhang, Yanlin


500 Science > 540 Chemistry




Arizona Board of Regents, University of Arizona




Brigitte Oggier

Date Deposited:

28 Jul 2014 11:37

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:31

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Radiocarbon, carbonaceous aerosols, organic carbon, elemental carbon, intercomparison




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