• 14C in the Deep Water of the East Atlantic

      Schlitzer, Reiner (American Journal of Science, 1986-01-01)
      The renewal of east Atlantic deep water and its large-scale circulation and mixing have been studied in observed distributions of temperature, silicate, Sigma-CO2, and 14C. 14C variations in northeast Atlantic deep water below 3500m depth are small. Delta-14C values range from -100 per mil to -125 per mil.14C bottom water concentrations decrease from &4C = -117 per mil in the Sierra Leone Basin to Delta-14C = -123 per mil in the Iberian Basin and are consistent with a mean northward bottom water flow. The characteristic of the water that flows from the west Atlantic through the Romanche Trench into the east Atlantic was determined by inspection of theta/Delta-14C and theta/Si02 diagrams. A mean potential temperature of theta = 1.50 +/- .05 degrees C was found for the inflowing water. A multi-box model including circulation, mixing, and chemical source terms in the deep water has been formulated. Linear programing and least-squares techniques have been used to obtain the transport and source parameters of the model from the observed tracer fields. Model calculations reveal an inflow through the Romanche Trench from the west Atlantic, which predominates over any other inflow, of (5 +/- 2) Sv (potential temperature 1.50 degrees C), a convective turnover of (150 +/- 50) years and a vertical apparent diffusivity of (4 +/- 1) cm2/s. Chemical source terms are in the expected ranges.
    • Carbon Cycle: 1985 Glacial to Interglacial Changes in the Operation of the Global Carbon Cycle

      Broecker, Wallace S.; Peng, Tsung-Hung (American Journal of Science, 1986-01-01)
      The hottest topic for those interested in the earth's carbon cycles is the change in atmospheric CO2 content between glacial and interglacial time. What caused it? What is its role in glacial cycles? We evaluate here the hypotheses that have been put forward to explain the CO2 change with evidence from deep sea sediments. We conclude that all the hypotheses have serious drawbacks and that much effort will have to be expended in gathering more data from ice cores and ocean sediments before we will be pointed toward the correct scenario. Also, thoughtful modeling aimed at depicting the ties between pCO2, O2, 13C/12C, 14C/12C, and nutrient constituents in the sea for various modes of circulation will have to be done before the evidence from ocean cores can be properly interpreted.
    • Carbon Isotopes in Atmospheric CO2 of the Krakow Region: A Two-Year Record

      Kuc, Tadeusz (American Journal of Science, 1986-01-01)
      We have been measuring concentration of atmospheric CO2 and its carbon isotope composition in the Kraków region for about two years. Samples are continuously collected at two-week intervals at ca 20m above ground level, close to the center of the industrialized urban area. Sampled atmospheric CO2 is sorbed in a molecular sieve and, after recovery by heating, is converted to benzene. 14C is measured in a liquid scintillation spectrometer, and delta-13C of the CO2 is determined in a mass spectrometer. The annual record shows winter-summer variation of 14C, 13C, and CO2 concentration. A long-term trend for 1983 and 1984 indicates a slight decrease of 14C activity (122.0 in January 1983; -1.2% per year), a permanent decrease of delta-13CPDB (-9.3 per mil in January 1983; -0.3 per mil per year) and an increase of CO2 concentration (344ppm in January 1983; 1.4ppm per year).
    • Measurement of 14C Directly from CO2 Using a Tandetron Accelerator Mass Spectrometer Facility

      Raisbeck, Grant M.; Yiou, Françoise; Arnold, Maurice; Duplessy, Jean Claude (American Journal of Science, 1986-01-01)
      Tests have been carried out on the measurement of 14C directly from CO2, using a source designed by Middleton, and a Tandetron accelerator mass spectrometer system. These tests were very promising from the point of view of minimum quantity of carbon necessary (<50 micrograms), but suffered from a background (apparently not memory effect) giving an equivalent age of 25,000 years. As a demonstration of the technique, a single thread from the mummy wrapping of the Egyptian king Ramses II was dated.
    • Secular Variations of Cosmogenic 14C on Earth: Their Discovery and Interpretation

      Suess, Hans E. (American Journal of Science, 1986-01-01)
      Measurement of 14C in samples of wood of precisely known age have shown that the cosmogenic 14C content of the CO2 in the atmosphere has not remained constant during the period of time covered by radiocarbon dating. As the terrestrial atmosphere mixes with a time constant of less than 3 years, these variations must be essentially independent of geographic location. The 14C in atmospheric CO2 must be a quantity that, at a given time, pertains to the terrestrial atmosphere as a whole. Not only is its knowledge necessary for deriving accurate radiocarbon dates, but it is also valuable in connection with many geophysical and astrophysical problems. Unfortunately, progress in our knowledge of 14C variations in the terrestrial atmosphere has been delayed by hidden experimental errors in results obtained by many laboratories. By rigorous statistical analysis of the La Jolla results, it is now possible to show that the 14C variations are not simple random fluctuations but show distinct regularities. Similar patterns of variations have been found in the growth rate of trees during the last 5000 years. Measurements of radiogenic 10Be currently being done by European workers promise to conclusively elucidate the 14C findings.
    • Uptake of Anthropogenic CO2 by Lateral Transport Models of the Ocean Based on the Distribution of Bomb-Produced 14C

      Peng, Tsung Hung (American Journal of Science, 1986-01-01)
      The pattern of global water column inventories of bomb-produced 14C suggests that a sizeable portion of bomb 14C that entered the Antarctic, northern Pacific, and tropical oceans has been transported to adjacent temperate regions. Models of lateral transport of surface water in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans are based on this distribution pattern. Upwelling of bomb-14C-free water from below takes place in the Antarctic, northern Pacific, and tropical regions; downwelling of surface water occurs in the temperate oceans and northern Atlantic. Uptake of excess CO2 by these models is calculated using the observed Mauna Loa pCO2 record as an input function. Results indicate that 35% of fossil fuel CO2 is taken up by these model oceans during the period 1.958-1980. Considering the observed airborne fraction of 0.55, it appears that ca 10% of the global fossil fuel CO2 is still missing.