Sensitivity effects in UK'37 paleotemperature estimation by chemical ionization mass spectrometry

Chaler, R.; Grimalt, J. O.; Pelejero, C.; Calvo, E.
Analytical Chemistry
Analysis of C37 alkenone mixtures by gas chromatography (GC) with flame ionization detection (FID) and GC coupled to mass spectrometry (GC/MS) in the chemical ionization mode (CI) shows that the later is useful for paleotemperature estimation when ammonia is used as reagent gas. Conversely, the use of isobutane gives rise to UK'37 readings that are dependent on the amount of C37 alkenones introduced in the system, being unreliable for paleoclimatic studies. However, ammonia CI GC/MS may produce UK'37 measurements that deviate from those obtained by GC-FID, the method calibrated for temperature estimation from algal cultures and marine sedimentary data. The differences result from changes in relative sensitivity between the di- and triunsaturated alkenones and depend on the instrument used and operational conditions. This problem is solved in the present study by determination of the response factor linear equations for each alkenone and their average relative sensitivity (R) using mixtures of known composition. These parameters allow the transformation of the GC/MS readings into the GC-FID equivalents using the following equation: UG = R x UM/(1 - UM(1 - R)). Examples of the suitability of this approach are given.
Sea-surface temperatures, Long-chain alkenones, North-atlantic, Organic-matter, Index, Calibration, Sediments
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