• Trends of 13C/12C Ratios in Pinyon Tree Rings of the American Southwest and the Global Carbon Cycle

      Leavitt, S. W.; Long, Austin (American Journal of Science, 1986-01-01)
      An accurate atmospheric 13C/12C chronology can provide important constraints to models of the global carbon cycle. Trees accumulate carbon from atmospheric CO2 into growth rings and offer potential for 13C/12C reconstructions, but results have not been reproducible. This paper presents 5 degree C curves from 5 sites, representing 20 pinyon (Pinus edulis) trees, where cores of 4 trees from each site have been pooled into a composite sample. Isotopic analysis of cellulose in 5-yr ring groups produces curves with a general trend of decreasing 5 degree C after 1800, but with pronounced short-term fluctuations superimposed upon the trend. Evidence indicates the fluctuations are strongly related to moisture availability (drought). A mean curve of the 5 delta-13C chronologies from which the fossil-fuel component is subtracted suggests a substantial biospheric CO2 contribution to the atmosphere since 1800.