Articles | Volume 17, issue 4
Clim. Past, 17, 1701–1725, 2021
Clim. Past, 17, 1701–1725, 2021

Research article 16 Aug 2021

Research article | 16 Aug 2021

On the tuning of plateaus in atmospheric and oceanic 14C records to derive calendar chronologies of deep-sea cores and records of 14C marine reservoir age changes

Edouard Bard and Timothy J. Heaton

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Cited articles

Adolphi, F. and Muscheler, R.: Synchronizing the Greenland ice core and radiocarbon timescales over the Holocene – Bayesian wiggle-matching of cosmogenic radionuclide records, Clim. Past, 12, 15–30,, 2016. 
Adolphi, F., Muscheler, R., Friedrich, M., Güttler, D., Wacker, L., Talamo, S., and Kromer, B.: Radiocarbon calibration uncertainties during the last deglaciation: Insights from new floating tree-ring chronologies, Quaternary Sci. Rev., 170, 98-108,, 2017. 
Adolphi, F., Bronk Ramsey, C., Erhardt, T., Edwards, R. L., Cheng, H., Turney, C. S. M., Cooper, A., Svensson, A., Rasmussen, S. O., Fischer, H., and Muscheler, R.: Connecting the Greenland ice-core and U∕Th timescales via cosmogenic radionuclides: testing the synchroneity of Dansgaard–Oeschger events, Clim. Past, 14, 1755–1781,, 2018. 
Andrews, A., Siciliano, D., Potts, D., DeMartini, E., and Covarrubias, S.: Bomb Radiocarbon and the Hawaiian Archipelago: Coral, Otoliths, and Seawater, Radiocarbon, 58, 531–548,, 2016. 
Arz, H. W., Pätzold, J., and Wefer, G.: Climatic changes during the last deglaciation recorded in sediment cores from the Northeast Brazilian Continental Margin, Geo Marine Letters, 19, 209–218, 1999. 
Short summary
We assess the 14C plateau tuning technique used to date marine sediments and determine 14C marine reservoir ages. We identify problems linked to assumptions of the technique, the assumed shapes of the 14C / 12C records, and the sparsity and uncertainties in both atmospheric and marine data. Our concerns are supported with carbon cycle box model experiments and statistical simulations, allowing us to question the ability to tune 14C age plateaus in the context of noisy and sparse data.