FARLAB which stands for 'Facility for advanced isotopic research and monitoring of weather, climate, and biogeochemical cycling' is a modern national facility for light stable isotope analyses; bringing the latest technologies and approaches to Norwegian researchers from different research fields.
Isotopes, which are different forms of the same element, provide unique insights into natural processes. The isotopic composition of different materials tells us about their history (where did rainwater originate? How much carbon dioxide has entered the ocean? How warm was it when a fossil lived?). Recent advances in technology are now making it possible to measure new types of isotopes and allow researchers to make measurements directly in the field. These advances are opening entirely new research horizons. For example, they allow us to reconstruct the Earth's temperature far back in time or to study how water is transported in the atmosphere. The ability to analyze isotopes in the field is not only more efficient but allows scientists to adapt their experiments on-the-fly in order to capture and understand unexpected or exciting new results as they come in.
FARLAB is a national facility that makes these techniques openly accessible to Norwegian researchers. FARLAB assembles a critical mass of equipment and expertise within Bergen and acts as a national resource for training and analyses, both in the field and in the laboratory. In addition, we collaborate with international groups in order to further develop the methods we are using, as well as to standardize them in comparison with other approaches.
The applications developed by FARLAB will primarily be used in climate, weather, biogeochemistry, and Earth science related fields. However, the potential is not limited to these fields and the dedicated center provides the capacity to adapt to the future needs of Norwegian researchers.
Norway has developed internationally leading research in the field of (paleo)climate through the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research (BCCR) together with strong climate and paleoclimate groups throughout Norway.
The stable isotope laboratory at UiB was a founding laboratory of the Bjerknes Centre and isotopic tools are an integral part of paleoclimatic, oceanographic, geobiological, ecological, and carbon cycling research within Norway.
The recent development of new avenues and technologies in isotope geochemistry provides previously unobtainable data on past temperatures and water cycling (clumped isotopes), and unprecedented spatial and temporal coverage of water isotope monitoring through field based analyses (laser spectroscopy). These groundbreaking advances furthermore provide crucial data for validating global climate and weather prediction models.
FARLAB will establish these, and other, new methodologies to meet demand from top flight research Centres in Earth Sciences Norway (e.g CoE's CAGE, CEED, CGB, BCCR). This follows up on the RCN's recent Earth Science Evaluation Report highlighting the need to support the continued development and innovation capacity of top research groups.
The new clumped isotope, laser spectroscopy, small sample C and N isotope, and O and H pyrolysis capabilities will have broad user groups and applications and will bring Norway to the forefront of isotope geochemistry. In addition, FARLAB will take an internationally leading role in improving and expanding the applicability of these emerging techniques through method development for minimizing sample requirements (clumped isotopes) and improving the calibration of off-the-shelf spectrometers (laser spectroscopy).
FARLAB will build a critical mass of isotope equipment and expertise within Bergen and act as a national resource for training, standardization, and both field and laboratory based analyses.