Gregor Hsiao's blog

Gregor Hsiao's blog

Dr. Joe Galewsky on Measuring Water Vapor in the World’s Driest Desert


I had the opportunity to speak with one of our customers, Dr. Joe Galewsky of the University of New Mexico at Albuquerque, on his long term water vapor isotope monitoring project in Chile. The location offers a unique opportunity to understand how climate change is affecting the atmospheric water vapor cycle. Here’s a transcript of that conversation.

Congratulations to Dr. David Noone, Winner of The Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers

David Noone - Award Photo

Congratulations to a community member many of you know:  Dr. David Noone, a CIRES Fellow at the University of Colorado Boulder.  David has just been awarded the The Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, or "PECASE". It is the highest honor given by the U.S. government to early career scientists. 

Dr. Zhonghe Pang on Groundwater Recharge, Geothermal Energy, and Carbon Sequestration

Zhonghe Pang

I had the opportunity to speak with one of our customers, Dr. Zhonghe Pang of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, on using water isotopes to understand and mitigate climate change including: land use and ground water recharge, modeling geothermal reservoirs, and testing the CO2 storage capacity of deep saline aquifers. Here’s a transcript of that conversation.

Centre for Ice and Climate's Unique Solution for Ice Cores


The Centre for Ice and Climate at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark is one of the birthplaces of ice core science.  In 1954 Willi Dansgaard [1] suggested the correlation between the oxygen isotope ratio and temperature at which the precipitation was formed and postulated that past climate changes could be discerned by such measurements. Ten years later, in 1964, Willi Dansgaard outlined the capabilities and limitations of the isotopic paleothermometer for glaciological uses in Greenland and Antarctica in a milestone publication in Tellus [2].

Per Meg, Anyone? Picarro's New Isotopic Water Analyzer Achieves Per Meg Precision

d18O vapor Allan variance

When I joined Picarro at the start of September in 2009, Cavity Ring-Down Spectroscopy technology for isotope analysis had only just been created. In short order CRDS was validated by researchers whose laboratories specialized in using isotope ratio mass spectrometers (IRMS), devices which were previously considered the state of the art.

Introducing In-Line Organics Removal From Isotopic Water Samples: New Micro-Pyrolysis Technology TM from Picarro

an early MPT prototype

In conversations with stable isotope researchers around the world a recurrent theme has been the problems caused by organics compounds in water samples, ranging from plant water extracts to alcoholic beverages.  For laser-based spectroscopic analyzers like Picarro, certain organic compounds, mostly alcohols, have caused spectral interference which distorted the reported isotope ratio.  We took the first step towards solving the problem last year with our ChemCorrectTM software, which flags, identifies and quantifies organic contamination.