Observations of radiocarbon in CO<sub>2 </sub>at seven global sampling sites in the Scripps flask network: Analysis of spatial gradients and seasonal cycles

Graven, HD, Guilderson TP, Keeling RF.  2012.  Observations of radiocarbon in CO2 at seven global sampling sites in the Scripps flask network: Analysis of spatial gradients and seasonal cycles. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 117

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(co2)-c-14, atmospheric co2, bomb radiocarbon, emissions, Europe, fuel-derived co2, northern, sea gas-exchange, stratosphere-troposphere exchange, transport


High precision measurements of Delta C-14 were conducted for monthly samples of CO2 from seven global stations over 2- to 16-year periods ending in 2007. Mean Delta C-14 over 2005-07 in the Northern Hemisphere was 5 parts per thousand lower than Delta C-14 in the Southern Hemisphere, similar to recent observations from I. Levin. This is a significant shift from 1988-89 when Delta C-14 in the Northern Hemisphere was slightly higher than the South. The influence of fossil fuel CO2 emission and transport was simulated for each of the observation sites by the TM3 atmospheric transport model and compared to other models that participated in the Transcom 3 Experiment. The simulated interhemispheric gradient caused by fossil fuel CO2 emissions was nearly the same in both 1988-89 and 2005-07, due to compensating effects from rising emissions and decreasing sensitivity of Delta C-14 to fossil fuel CO2. The observed 5 parts per thousand shift must therefore have been caused by non-fossil influences, most likely due to changes in the air-sea C-14 flux in the Southern Ocean. Seasonal cycles with higher Delta C-14 in summer or fall were evident at most stations, with largest amplitudes observed at Point Barrow (71 degrees N) and La Jolla (32 degrees N). Fossil fuel emissions do not account for the seasonal cycles of Delta C-14 in either hemisphere, indicating strong contributions from non-fossil influences, most likely from stratosphere-troposphere exchange.






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