Metrology for stable isotopes to support climate change studies: the European Joint Research Project SIRS

Michela Sega, Metrology for Quality of Life, Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca Metrologica , Torino, Italy (
Paul Brewer, National Physical Laboratory , Teddington, United Kingdom
Christina Biasi, Department Of Environmental And Biological Sciences, University Of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland
David Balslev-Hard, Dfm A/s � Danish National Metrology Institute, Hørsholm, Denmark
Harro A.J. Meijer, Centre For Isotope Research (cio), University Of Groningen , Groningen, The Netherlands
Joachim Mohn, Laboratory For Air Pollution / Environmental Technology, Empa, Dübendorf, Switzerland
Heiko Moossen, Institute For Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Institute, Jena, Germany
Aránzazu Oca, Specialty Gas Production Plant, Air Liquide España, S.a., Madrid, Spain
Nives Ogrinc, Department Of Environmental Sciences, Jožef Stefan Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Tuomas Poikonen, Centre For Metrology Mikes, Vtt Technical Research Centre Of Finland Ltd, Espoo, Finland
Tanil Tarhan, Gas Metrology Laboratory, T�bİtak Ume National Metrology Institute, Kocaeli, Turkey
Olav Werhahn, Physikalisch-technische Bundesanstalt, Braunschweig, Germany

Climate change is one of the greatest risks to society worldwide. The increase of the concentration of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere from man-made emissions is the main cause of global warming. Atmospheric concentrations of GHGs are at levels that are unprecedented in at least 800,000 years. Since the pre-industrial era, anthropogenic GHG emissions have increased largely driven by the economic and population growth and, from 2000 to 2010, emissions were the highest in history. Carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrous oxide (N2O) are major contributors to this process. There is a need to discriminate man-made from natural emission contributions in atmosphere, to provide governments with emission inventory data to support verification of nationally determined emission targets and to allow pledges of emissions reductions to be demonstrated. This cannot be achieved with the existing metrological infrastructure, so new research to underpin measurements of stable isotopes of CO2 and N2O, which infers their origin, is vital.

The European Joint Research Project SIRS – Metrology for Stable Isotope Reference Standards, started in 2017 within the European Metrology Programme for Innovation and Research (EMPIR), operates in this framework. The project, coordinated by the National Physical Laboratory (UK), shows a multidisciplinary consortium with twelve partners coming from National Metrology Institutes, Designated Institutes, academia, research centres, industry. SIRS aims to fill the traceability gap by providing a new infrastructure for stable isotopes, delivering international gaseous CO2 reference materials to meet the increasing demand and international gaseous N2O reference materials with stated uncertainties to underpin isotope ratio measurements. In addition, the project will validate existing and develop new field-deployable spectroscopy to work towards the long-term goal of meeting the specification of mass spectrometry (0.01‰) and initiating SI traceability of the international CO2 isotope ratio scale by re-measuring the absolute isotope ratios by gas-source isotope ratio mass spectrometry.

Short Biography of Presenting Author

Dr. Michela Sega is a chemists and holds a PhD in Chemical Sciences, from the University of Torino, Italy. She is a permanent researcher at the Italian Metrology Institute “Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca Metrologica – INRIM”. She leads the laboratory of Primary gravimetric gas mixtures and organic analysis. Her main research activities are related to metrology in chemistry, mainly focused on gas analysis and organic analysis.

She is currently the chairperson of CITAC and of the IMEKO Technical Committee TC8 “Traceability in metrology”. She is a member of Eurachem and had been the chairperson of the EURAMET Technical Committee on Metrology in Chemistry from 2011 to 2015.

She is co-author of about 30 publications on international and national journals.


Organized & Produced by:

POB 4043, Ness Ziona 70400, Israel
Tel.: +972-8-9313070, Fax: +972-8-9313071