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Compatibility of Atmospheric 14CO2 Measurements: Comparing the Heidelberg Low-Level Counting Facility to International Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) Laboratories

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 September 2016

Samuel Hammer*
Institut für Umweltphysik, Heidelberg University, Germany
Ronny Friedrich
Curt Engelhorn Center for Archaeometry gGmbH, Mannheim, Germany
Bernd Kromer
Institut für Umweltphysik, Heidelberg University, Germany Curt Engelhorn Center for Archaeometry gGmbH, Mannheim, Germany
Alexander Cherkinsky
Center for Applied Isotope Studies, University of Georgia, USA
Scott J Lehman
INSTAAR, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA
Harro A J Meijer
Centre for Isotope Research (CIO), Energy and Sustainability Research Institute Groningen (ESRIG), University of Groningen, the Netherlands
Toshio Nakamura
Center for Chronological Research, Nagoya University, Japan
Vesa Palonen
Department of Physics, University of Helsinki, Finland
Ron W Reimer
14CHRONO Centre for Climate, the Environment and Chronology,School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology, Queen’s University Belfast, UK
Andrew M Smith
Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, Lucas Heights, NSW 2234, Australia
John R Southon
Earth System Science Department, University of California, Irvine, California 92612, USA
Sönke Szidat
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry & Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Bern, Switzerland
Jocelyn Turnbull
National Isotope Centre, GNS Science New Zealand and CIRES, University of Colorado, USA
Masao Uchida
National Institute for Environmental Studies, Tsukuba, Japan
*Corresponding author. Email:


Combining atmospheric Δ14CO2 data sets from different networks or laboratories requires secure knowledge on their compatibility. In the present study, we compare Δ14CO2 results from the Heidelberg low-level counting (LLC) laboratory to 12 international accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) laboratories using distributed aliquots of five pure CO2 samples. The averaged result of the LLC laboratory has a measurement bias of –0.3±0.5‰ with respect to the consensus value of the AMS laboratories for the investigated atmospheric Δ14C range of 9.6 to 40.4‰. Thus, the LLC measurements on average are not significantly different from the AMS laboratories, and the most likely measurement bias is smaller than the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) interlaboratory compatibility goal for Δ14CO2 of 0.5‰. The number of intercomparison samples was, however, too small to determine whether the measurement biases of the individual AMS laboratories fulfilled the WMO goal.

Advances in Physical Measurement Techniques
© 2016 by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona 

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