The Effect of Anthropogenic CO2 and 14C Sources on the Distribution of 14C in the Atmosphere
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CitationLevin, I., Münnich, K. O., & Weiss, W. (1980). The effect of anthropogenic CO2 and 14C sources on the distribution of 14C in the atmosphere. Radiocarbon, 22(2), 379-391.
PublisherAmerican Journal of Science
Abstract14C measurements on continuous weekly samples of atmospheric CO2 and hydrocarbons, collected in a rather densely populated area are presented. The deviation of the measured 14C data from the clean air level is primarily due to CO2 from the combustion of fossil fuels. This is confirmed by fossil fuel admixture estimates individually calculated with an atmospheric dispersion model. Up to 10 percent admixture is predicted by this model and observed from the 14C shift for weekly averages, particularly during the winter season. Natural CO2 admixture due to soil respiration, however, even in winter, is of the same order of magnitude, but much larger in the warm season: the considerable variations in CO2 concentration in summer are almost exclusively controlled by natural sources. Using tree leaf samples, we have been able to identify boiling water reactors (BWR) as weak sources of 14CO2. Atmospheric samples taken in the environment of the pressurized water reactors (PWR) Biblis show that the 14C release of these reactors is primarily in the form of hydrocarbon 14C. The source strength of the various power plants, calculated on the basis of our observations in their environment, ranges from 0.5 to 7Ci per year.