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Über dieses Buch

This book is a useful guide for researchers in ecology and earth science interested in the use of accelerator mass spectrometry technology. The development of research in radiocarbon measurements offers an opportunity to address the human impact on global carbon cycling and climate change. Presenting radiocarbon theory, history, applications, and analytical techniques in one volume builds a broad outline of the field of radiocarbon and its emergent role in defining changes in the global carbon cycle and links to climate change.

Each chapter presents both classic and cutting-edge studies from different disciplines involving radiocarbon and carbon cycling. The book also includes a chapter on the history and discovery of radiocarbon, and advances in radiocarbon measurement techniques and radiocarbon theory. Understanding human alteration of the global carbon cycle and the link between atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and climate remains one of the foremost environmental problems at the interface of ecology and earth system science. Many people are familiar with the terms ‘global warming’ and ‘climate change’, but fewer are able to articulate the science that support these hypotheses. This book addresses general questions such as: what is the link between the carbon cycle and climate change; what is the current evidence for the fate of carbon dioxide added by human activities to the atmosphere, and what has caused past changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide? How can the radiocarbon and stable isotopes of carbon combined with other tools be used for quantifying the human impact on the global carbon cycle?



Chapter 1. Radiocarbon and the Global Carbon Cycle

This chapter begins by summarizing some of the recent changes in the global carbon (C) cycle, contrasting patterns that exist today with those of the past several hundred years. With this backdrop, the chapter then examines the overall distribution of C isotopes as a framework for understanding the global C cycle and the changes that are happening to it. These important themes are followed in more detail throughout other chapters of this book, giving insight into C cycling from small to large scales and through all of the important Earth reservoirs.
E. A. G. Schuur, S. E. Trumbore, E. R. M. Druffel, J. R. Southon, A. Steinhof, R. E. Taylor, J. C. Turnbull

Chapter 2. Radiocarbon Dating: Development of a Nobel Method

This chapter reviews the key events associated with the development of the radiocarbon (14C) dating method immediately following World War II by Willard F. Libby (1909–1980) and his collaborators, James R. Arnold (1923–2013), and Ernest C. Anderson (1920–2013). It also considers the historical background and earlier discoveries that Libby and others drew upon in forming the concepts that he employed in developing this technique. Libby received the 1960 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for, in the words of the Nobel citation, his “method to use Carbon-14 for age determinations in archeology, geology, geophysics and other sciences.”
R. E. Taylor

Chapter 3. Radiocarbon Nomenclature, Theory, Models, and Interpretation: Measuring Age, Determining Cycling Rates, and Tracing Source Pools

This chapter introduces the processes that cause isotopes of carbon (C) to be distributed among different Earth system components. This chapter reviews commonly used nomenclature for reporting radiocarbon (14C) data, which differ according to the application. Finally, theory and models are introduced that are commonly used for interpreting 14C data in terms of its three major uses: (1) determining the time elapsed since C in a closed system was isolated from the atmosphere; (2) estimating the rate of exchange of C between reservoirs in open systems; and (3) estimating the contributions of different C sources to a mixture.
S. E. Trumbore, C. A. Sierra, C. E. Hicks Pries

Chapter 4. Radiocarbon in the Atmosphere

This chapter examines the controls on radiocarbon (14C) content of CO2 in the atmosphere over time. It discusses atmospheric observations and their interpretation using models of atmospheric transport, which describe the physical mixing of the atmosphere. This spans the simplest conceptual model of addition of a gas into a single well-mixed box of air, to multi-box models with three-dimensional global or regional atmospheric transport models. This format is applied to atmospheric history for five different time periods when different factors dominated atmospheric 14C.
J. C. Turnbull, H. Graven, N. Y. Krakauer

Chapter 5. Radiocarbon in the Oceans

This chapter reviews how radiocarbon (14C) in dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) has been used to determine the cycling time of water within the world ocean, and how 14C in dissolved organic carbon (DOC) is being used to reveal the sources and cycling of this largest organic carbon pool in the ocean. In addition, recent studies that reveal the concentration and 14C values of black carbon in DOC in the oceans are presented.
E. R. M. Druffel, S. R. Beaupré, L. A. Ziolkowski

Chapter 6. Radiocarbon in Terrestrial Systems

This chapter focuses on how radiocarbon (14C) is used both as a tracer of source pools and for determining age on multiple time scales, providing a powerful approach for understanding the dynamics of terrestrial ecosystems. A range of applications is introduced, from estimating the lifespan of whole organisms to using the age of respired carbon (C) to partition sources of respired CO2. This chapter also provides examples that apply models introduced in Chapter 3 to the soil organic C pool. Lastly, this chapter introduces several new 14C approaches including low-level labeling to understand C cycling processes occurring on shorter time scales from minutes to months.
E. A. G. Schuur, M. S. Carbone, C. E. Hicks Pries, F. M. Hopkins, S. M. Natali

Chapter 7. Paleoclimatology

This chapter presents the use of radiocarbon (14C) as a powerful dating tool for placing paleoclimate records on a common timescale. The basics of past climate change are presented, as is the use of 14C in foraminifera as a tracer of past ocean mixing. The quest for unveiling the mechanisms behind the 
“mystery interval” is introduced. The recent IntCal13 calibration curve is discussed as the first version to incorporate a 50-kyr record based on materials that directly sampled the atmospheric 14C pool, and additional measurements to better constrain the older part of the calibration curve.
J. R. Southon, R. De Pol-Holz, E. R. M. Druffel

Chapter 8. Accelerator Mass Spectrometry of Radiocarbon

This chapter presents an overview of the technology for measuring radiocarbon (14C) by accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS), which counts individual 14C atoms. The major components of a 14C AMS system are described in relation to the basic principles and challenges for measuring 14C. This chapter concludes with a review of various AMS instruments used to measure 14C.
Axel Steinhof

Chapter 9. Preparation for Radiocarbon Analysis

This chapter presents an overview of the steps required to prepare a sample for radiocarbon (14C) measurement by accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). These include: (1) collection of an appropriate sample that can answer the question being asked; (2) pretreatment of samples to isolate a the most representative fraction of the bulk carbon (C) or to separate total C into different components; (3) conversion of C in the sample to CO2 and/or graphite for measurement by AMS; and (4) assessing errors, especially those associated with 14C contamination that occur during processing.
S. E. Trumbore, X. Xu, G. M. Santos, C. I. Czimczik, S. R. Beaupré, M. A. Pack, F. M. Hopkins, A. Stills, M. Lupascu, L. Ziolkowski
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