Our research aims to understand natural and anthropogenic climate change through a lens of atmospheric composition. We use ancient air trapped in glacial ice from Greenland and Antarctica as well as samples of the modern atmosphere to learn about how the concentrations and isotopic composition of greenhouse gases and reactive gases change on time scales ranging from months to many thousands of years, and what these changes tell us about Earth’s climate and atmospheric chemistry.

Research Interests:

  • Past, present and future global methane budget
  • Atmospheric oxidizing capacity and its response to natural and anthropogenic changes
  • Cosmogenic 14C in glacial ice and its use as a tracer for past cosmic ray flux
  • Atmospheric carbon monoxide budget and connections to biomass burning variations


Natural Geologic Methane Emissions
Photo by V.Petrenko
Past and Present Variations in Atmospheric Hydroxl Radical Abundance
Photo by V.Petrenko
Cosmogenic Carbon-14 in Glacial Firn and Ice
C-14 in glacial ice link

Photo by V.Petrenko

Past, Present and Future Global Methane Budget
CH4 Changes link
Photo by V.Petrenko
Carbon Monoxide in the Past and Modern Atmosphere
CO variations link
Photo by B.Hmiel

Ice and Climate Slideshow

Methane, Ice Cores, and 14C Slideshow