Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Changes of subtropical north pacific radiocarbon and correlation with climate variability

  • Author(s): Druffel, E R M
  • Griffin, S
  • Guilderson, T P
  • Kashgarian, M
  • Southon, J
  • Schrag, D P
  • et al.
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License

We show that high-precision radiocarbon (Δ14C) measurements from annual bands of a Hawaiian surface coral decreased by 7‰ from AD 1893 to 1952. This decrease is coincident with the Suess Effect, which is mostly due to the dilution of natural levels of 14C by 14C-free fossil fuel CO2. This decrease is equal to that expected in surface waters of the subtropical gyres, and indicates that the surface waters of the North Pacific were in steady state with respect to long term mixing of CO2 during the past century. Correlation between Δ14C and North Pacific gyre sea surface temperatures indicates that vertical mixing local to Hawaii and the North Pacific gyre as a whole is the likely physical mechanism to result in variable Δ14C. Prior to 1920, this correlation starts to break down; this may be related to the non-correlation between biennial Δ14C values in corals from the southwest Pacific and El Niño events observed during this period as well.

Main Content
Current View