Dilution of Atmospheric Radiocarbon CO2 by Fossil Fuel Emissions

14 Pages Posted: 29 Apr 2016 Last revised: 1 May 2016

Date Written: April 30, 2016


Post bomb period data for 14C in atmospheric carbon dioxide from seven measurement stations are available in small samples up to and including the year 2007. They do not support the theory that dilution by 14C-free fossil fuel emissions is responsible for falling levels of 14C in atmospheric CO2. We find instead that the observed decline of 14C in atmospheric CO2 is consistent with the exponential decay of bomb 14C. We also find that the attribution to fossil fuel emissions of the pre-bomb dilution of 14C in atmospheric CO2 in the period 1900-1950 found by Stuiver and Quay in tree-ring data is inconsistent with total emissions and changes in atmospheric CO2 during that period. We conclude that the data for 14C in atmospheric CO2 do not serve as empirical evidence that the observed increase in atmospheric CO2 since the Industrial Revolution is attributable to fossil fuel emissions.

Keywords: global warming, climate change, fossil fuel emissions, carbon isotopes, carbon 14, atmospheric co2, industrial revolution, fossil fuels, environment, save the planet, anthropogenic effects, human activity

Suggested Citation

Munshi, Jamal, Dilution of Atmospheric Radiocarbon CO2 by Fossil Fuel Emissions (April 30, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2770539 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2770539

Jamal Munshi (Contact Author)

Sonoma State University ( email )

1801 East Cotati Avenue
Rohnert Park, CA 94928
United States

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