Oxygen (O2)

Oxygen is a major and vital component of the Earth atmosphere representing about 21% of its composition. It is consumed or produced through biochemical processes such as combustion, respiration, and photosynthesis. Although atmospheric oxygen is not a greenhouse gas, it can be used as a top-down constraint on the carbon cycle. The variation observations of oxygen in the atmosphere are very small, in the order of the few ppm’s.  This presents the main technical challenge for measurement as a very high level of precision is required and only few methods including mass spectrometry, fuel cell, and paramagnetic are capable of overcoming it.