Heavy Methanes as Atmospheric Tracers

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Science  12 Mar 1976:
Vol. 191, Issue 4231, pp. 1048-1050
DOI: 10.1126/science.191.4231.1048


Methane-21 (13CD4) is potentially a useful nonradioactive tracer for testing atmospheric transport and diffusion models on a continental scale. In an experiment to demonstrate this long-range utility, the release of 84 grams of methane-21 was detected at distances of 1500 to about 2500 kilometers at concentrations of about 1 part in 2 x 1016 parts (by volume) in the air by a technique in which methane was separated and the methane-21 content was measured with a mass spectrometer.