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The concentration of radiocarbon (14C) differs between ocean and atmosphere. Radiocarbon determinations from samples which obtained their 14C in the marine environment therefore need a marine-specific calibration curve and cannot be calibrated directly against the atmospheric-based IntCal20 curve. This paper presents Marine20, an update to the internationally agreed marine radiocarbon age calibration curve that provides a non-polar global-average marine record of radiocarbon from 0–55 cal kBP and serves as a baseline for regional oceanic variation. Marine20 is intended for calibration of marine radiocarbon samples from non-polar regions; it is not suitable for calibration in polar regions where variability in sea ice extent, ocean upwelling and air-sea gas exchange may have caused larger changes to concentrations of marine radiocarbon. The Marine20 curve is based upon 500 simulations with an ocean/atmosphere/biosphere box-model of the global carbon cycle that has been forced by posterior realizations of our Northern Hemispheric atmospheric IntCal20 14C curve and reconstructed changes in CO2 obtained from ice core data. These forcings enable us to incorporate carbon cycle dynamics and temporal changes in the atmospheric 14C level. The box-model simulations of the global-average marine radiocarbon reservoir age are similar to those of a more complex three-dimensional ocean general circulation model. However, simplicity and speed of the box model allow us to use a Monte Carlo approach to rigorously propagate the uncertainty in both the historic concentration of atmospheric 14C and other key parameters of the carbon cycle through to our final Marine20 calibration curve. This robust propagation of uncertainty is fundamental to providing reliable precision for the radiocarbon age calibration of marine based samples. We make a first step towards deconvolving the contributions of different processes to the total uncertainty; discuss the main differences of Marine20 from the previous age calibration curve Marine13; and identify the limitations of our approach together with key areas for further work. The updated values for ΔR, the regional marine radiocarbon reservoir age corrections required to calibrate against Marine20, can be found at the data base http://calib.org/marine/.
Northeastern (NE) India experiences extraordinarily pronounced seasonal climate, governed by the Indian summer monsoon (ISM). The vulnerability of this region to floods and droughts calls for detailed and highly resolved paleoclimate reconstructions to assess the recurrence rate and driving factors of ISM changes. We use stable oxygen and carbon isotope ratios (δ18O and δ13C) from stalagmite MAW-6 from Mawmluh Cave to infer climate and environmental conditions in NE India over the last deglaciation (16–6ka). We interpret stalagmite δ18O as reflecting ISM strength, whereas δ13C appears to be driven by local hydroclimate conditions. Pronounced shifts in ISM strength over the deglaciation are apparent from the δ18O record, similarly to other records from monsoonal Asia. The ISM is weaker during the late glacial (LG) period and the Younger Dryas, and stronger during the Bølling-Allerød and Holocene. Local conditions inferred from the δ13C record appear to have changed less substantially over time, possibly related to the masking effect of changing precipitation seasonality. Time series analysis of the δ18O record reveals more chaotic conditions during the late glacial and higher predictability during the Holocene, likely related to the strengthening of the seasonal recurrence of the ISM with the onset of the Holocene.
We have developed a simple, rapid method to screen carbonates for survey applications, which provides radiocarbon dates with decreased precision at lower cost. The method is based on previous work by Longworth et al. (2011) and involves mixing pulverized CaCO3 with Fe powder, followed by pressing into aluminum target holders for direct 14C accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) measurements. An optimum beam current averaging ∼10% of those produced by >0.7 mg C graphite targets was obtained for carbonate samples of 0.3–0.5 mg (0.04–0.06 mg C). The precision of the method was evaluated by measuring triplicates of 14C reference materials, as well as by comparing results from this rapid method with results from high-precision AMS measurements on graphite (typically 0.2–0.3%). Measurement reproducibility was ∼1.8% (1σ) for samples <10 ka BP, and it increased drastically for older samples. However, t tests on paired samples resulted in p values greater than 0.05, indicating a good correlation between this survey method and the conventional one. An average blank (calcite) of 0.0075 Fm (∼39 ka BP) was achieved. The simplicity of the technique allowed us to process and measure 72 deep-sea coral samples in less than 25 hr.
Deep-sea corals are a promising new archive of paleoclimate. Coupled radiocarbon and U-series dates allow 14C to be used as a tracer of ocean circulation rate in the same manner as it is used in the modern ocean. Diagenetic alteration of coral skeletons on the seafloor requires a thorough cleaning of contaminating phases of carbon. In addition, 10% of the coral must be chemically leached prior to dissolution to remove adsorbed modern CO2. A survey of modern samples from the full δ14C gradient in the deep ocean demonstrates that the coralline CaCO3 records the radiocarbon value of the dissolved inorganic carbon.
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