INFERENCE OF PAST ATMOSPHERIC DELTA CARBON-13 AND ATMOSPHERIC CARBON-DIOXIDE FROM CARBON-13/CARBON-12 MEASUREMENTS IN TREE RINGS.

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/187570
Title:
INFERENCE OF PAST ATMOSPHERIC DELTA CARBON-13 AND ATMOSPHERIC CARBON-DIOXIDE FROM CARBON-13/CARBON-12 MEASUREMENTS IN TREE RINGS.
Author:
LEAVITT, STEVEN WARREN.
Issue Date:
1982
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
Carbon dioxide release from fossil-fuel burning is significant enough that we may soon experience perceptible changes in climate with important human consequences. Man's activities involving deforestation and agriculture have undoubtedly also affected atmospheric CO₂, although quantitative, and even qualitative, net effects of these processes are incompletely understood relative to fossil-fuel production. An accurate reconstruction of past ¹³C/¹²C ratios of atmospheric CO₂ may provide key constraints on the historical activity of the biosphere as CO₂ source or sink. Tree rings appear to be a repository of this information but there is much noise in the collection of previous reconstructions, presumably associated with site selection, radial variability, choice of representative wood chemical constituent, and subtle effects of climate on fractionation. This study attempts to avoid these pitfalls and develop a 50-yr δ¹³C(ATM) record from juniper trees (genus Juniperus), in fact, by taking advantage of the influence of climate on fractionation. Trees were harvested from suitable sites in close proximity to weather stations with monthly records of temperature and precipitation. Ring material was then separated from each of the sections in 5-yr intervals from 1930 to 1979 around their full circumference, and cellulose was extracted from the wood. After measuring δ¹³C of the cellulose by standard mass-spectrometric techniques, a variety of δ¹³C vs. climate functions were examined for each interval. The most useful relationships for at most 7 of the 10 sites were δ¹³C with December temperature or precipitation, because the coefficients were nearly constant from one interval to the next (averaging -0.27%₀ °C⁻¹ for temperature and -0.04%₀ mm⁻¹ for precipitation) and the intercepts differed. Local pollution effects are believed responsible for the three anomalous sites. The separation of these regression lines of different intervals is interpreted as the response of the trees to the changing δ¹³C of atmospheric CO₂ so that δ¹³C(ATM) curves are constructed from this spacing. The shape of the best-fit reconstruction suggests the biosphere has acted as CO₂ source to about 1965 and may now be a net sink. Although these conclusions are limited by certain assumptions and statistical restrictions, evidence from the recent scientific literature tends to support the increasing role of the biosphere as an important carbon sink.
Type:
text; Dissertation-Reproduction (electronic)
Keywords:
Dendrochronology -- Arizona.; Atmospheric carbon dioxide -- Arizona.; Carbon cycle (Biogeochemistry) -- Arizona.
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Geosciences; Graduate College
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoenen_US
dc.titleINFERENCE OF PAST ATMOSPHERIC DELTA CARBON-13 AND ATMOSPHERIC CARBON-DIOXIDE FROM CARBON-13/CARBON-12 MEASUREMENTS IN TREE RINGS.en_US
dc.creatorLEAVITT, STEVEN WARREN.en_US
dc.contributor.authorLEAVITT, STEVEN WARREN.en_US
dc.date.issued1982en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractCarbon dioxide release from fossil-fuel burning is significant enough that we may soon experience perceptible changes in climate with important human consequences. Man's activities involving deforestation and agriculture have undoubtedly also affected atmospheric CO₂, although quantitative, and even qualitative, net effects of these processes are incompletely understood relative to fossil-fuel production. An accurate reconstruction of past ¹³C/¹²C ratios of atmospheric CO₂ may provide key constraints on the historical activity of the biosphere as CO₂ source or sink. Tree rings appear to be a repository of this information but there is much noise in the collection of previous reconstructions, presumably associated with site selection, radial variability, choice of representative wood chemical constituent, and subtle effects of climate on fractionation. This study attempts to avoid these pitfalls and develop a 50-yr δ¹³C(ATM) record from juniper trees (genus Juniperus), in fact, by taking advantage of the influence of climate on fractionation. Trees were harvested from suitable sites in close proximity to weather stations with monthly records of temperature and precipitation. Ring material was then separated from each of the sections in 5-yr intervals from 1930 to 1979 around their full circumference, and cellulose was extracted from the wood. After measuring δ¹³C of the cellulose by standard mass-spectrometric techniques, a variety of δ¹³C vs. climate functions were examined for each interval. The most useful relationships for at most 7 of the 10 sites were δ¹³C with December temperature or precipitation, because the coefficients were nearly constant from one interval to the next (averaging -0.27%₀ °C⁻¹ for temperature and -0.04%₀ mm⁻¹ for precipitation) and the intercepts differed. Local pollution effects are believed responsible for the three anomalous sites. The separation of these regression lines of different intervals is interpreted as the response of the trees to the changing δ¹³C of atmospheric CO₂ so that δ¹³C(ATM) curves are constructed from this spacing. The shape of the best-fit reconstruction suggests the biosphere has acted as CO₂ source to about 1965 and may now be a net sink. Although these conclusions are limited by certain assumptions and statistical restrictions, evidence from the recent scientific literature tends to support the increasing role of the biosphere as an important carbon sink.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeDissertation-Reproduction (electronic)en_US
dc.subjectDendrochronology -- Arizona.en_US
dc.subjectAtmospheric carbon dioxide -- Arizona.en_US
dc.subjectCarbon cycle (Biogeochemistry) -- Arizona.en_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGeosciencesen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.identifier.proquest8217431en_US
dc.identifier.oclc681958990en_US
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