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Interpretation of the Northern Hemispheric Record of 13C/12C Trends of Atmospheric CO2 in Tree Rings

  • Hans D. Freyer

Abstract

The present long-term increase of atmospheric CO2 has been accompanied by changes in the isotopic composition of its carbon atoms. Both the ratios of stable 13CO2/12CO2 and radioactive 14CO2/12CO2 have decreased as a result of anthropogenic activity. The decrease of the latter, until the beginning of nuclear testing caused an increase in the mid-1950s, is almost exclusively due to dilution of atmospheric CO2 resulting from fossil fuel burning, from which the 14C isotope had already decayed. The decrease of the 13C/12C ratio is a better measure of total anthropogenic activity because it reflects not only fossil fuel burning but also CO2 released as a result of deforestation and agricultural manipulation of the soil. The CO2 from both of these sources is marked by a δ13C deficit of about 18 to 20‰ (PDB scale; e.g., Freyer 1979c).

Keywords

Northern Hemisphere Tree Ring Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Quercus Robur Regional Trend 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1986

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  • Hans D. Freyer

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