EGU24-5556, updated on 08 Mar 2024
EGU General Assembly 2024
© Author(s) 2024. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Spatial Isotopic Analysis of Airborne CO2: Insights from Etna Volcano and Madonie Mountains, Italy, Surveys

Sergio Gurrieri and Roberto M.R. Di Martino
Sergio Gurrieri and Roberto M.R. Di Martino
  • Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Sezione di Palermo, Palermo, Italy (

Climate change is intricately linked to the carbon cycle. Both phenomena are examined across various temporal and spatial scales to clarify the processes of carbon exchange between the atmosphere and the Earth's surface in response to increasing greenhouse gas emissions, primarily CO2. Anthropogenic CO2 emissions emerge as the main driver of global warming, while natural CO2 emissions into the atmosphere constitutes approximately 1% of annual CO2 emissions, mainly resulting from volcanic activity.

This study relies on datasets gathered during surveys at Etna volcano and the Madonie mountains, Italy, to identify spatial variations in stable isotope composition and the concentration of airborne CO2. The dataset was collected along a path specifically designed from the urban areas of Catania and Cefalù, both in Italy, to high altitudes (i.e., ~2200 m a.s.l.) at Mount Etna and the Madonie mountains, Italy, respectively. This dataset facilitates exploration of spatial variations in the sources of atmospheric CO2 and patterns in the isotopic composition and concentration of airborne CO2 with altitude.

The study's findings indicate that the primary sources of airborne CO2 exhibit a biogenic isotopic carbon signature at Etna and the Madonie mountains, although a more 13C-enriched CO2 source influences the isotopic signature of airborne CO2 at Mount Etna. The concentration of airborne CO2 and the carbon isotopic signature remain independent of altitude. However, a high correlation between altitude and oxygen isotopic signature suggests that variations in hydrology significantly impact the airborne CO2.

Furthermore, the study underscores the complex relationship between environmental variables and airborne CO2 concentration, indicating that the pattern in airborne CO2 cannot be comprehensively investigated solely through concentration analysis due to the high background CO2 concentration compared to relative spatial variations. Additionally, the carbon isotopic signature of CO2 enables the differentiation of multiple sources of CO2 at Mount Etna and the distinction of 13C-enriched volcanic CO2 from background air at low airborne CO2 concentrations.

How to cite: Gurrieri, S. and Di Martino, R. M. R.: Spatial Isotopic Analysis of Airborne CO2: Insights from Etna Volcano and Madonie Mountains, Italy, Surveys, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-5556,, 2024.