Forty-year-old air sample found

A man in Beaumaris, Australia provided scientists with the oldest sample of air from the southern hemisphere. John Allport, 76, gave a scuba tank that he had filled in 1968 to researchers from the CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research labs. From Nature:

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The air archive maintained by CSIRO started in 1978, and contains samples of clean air from a station at Cape Grim, Tasmania. It's the oldest such archive in the world. Now with Allport's tank, last used in 1970, the record has been extended further.

The air contained traces of propellants, refrigerants and emissions form aluminium smelters. Paul Fraser, who leads CSIRO's greenhouse gas research team says that the scuba tank is going to be really useful: "If tanks were filled in a clean coastal environment their usefulness in measuring greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and chloro-flurocarbons (CFCs) is much broader," he says.

"Old air discovered"