Radioactive carbon

From Glossary of Meteorology
Revision as of 17:48, 26 January 2012 by imported>Perlwikibot (Created page with " {{TermHeader}} {{TermSearch}} <div class="termentry"> <div class="term"> == radioactive carbon == </div> <div class="definition"><div class="short_definition">Name giv...")
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)

radioactive carbon

Name given to the isotope 14C, which has a half-life of about 5500 years and is formed in the upper atmosphere by the reaction of neutrons on nitrogen.

It has also been formed locally by nuclear detonations in the upper atmosphere. Thus, it is useful as a radioactive tracer for distinguishing stratospheric transport and for dating organic matter. As a result of the gradual decay of this isotope, carbon-containing compounds that have been deposited at the earth's surface have a different isotopic signature than the carbon in the atmosphere.

Copyright 2022 American Meteorological Society (AMS). For permission to reuse any portion of this work, please contact Any use of material in this work that is determined to be “fair use” under Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act (17 U.S. Code § 107) or that satisfies the conditions specified in Section 108 of the U.S.Copyright Act (17 USC § 108) does not require AMS’s permission. Republication, systematic reproduction, posting in electronic form, such as on a website or in a searchable database, or other uses of this material, except as exempted by the above statement, require written permission or a license from AMS. Additional details are provided in the AMS Copyright Policy statement.