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Latest 14C Concentrations of Plant Leaves at High Altitudes in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres: Vertical Stability of Local Suess Effect

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 February 2016

Hirohisa Sakurai*
Department of Physics, Yamagata University, Yamagata, Japan
Fuyuki Tokanai
Department of Physics, Yamagata University, Yamagata, Japan
Kazuhiro Kato
Faculty of Science, Yamagata University, Yamagata, Japan
Yui Takahashi
Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Yamagata University, Yamagata, Japan
Taichi Sato
Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Yamagata University, Yamagata, Japan
Satoshi Kikuchi
Fujitsu Limited, Numazu, Japan
Emiko Inui
Faculty of Science, R.I. Laboratory, Yamagata University, Yamagata, Japan
Yumi Arai
Department of Physics, Yamagata University, Yamagata, Japan
Kimiaki Masuda
STE Lab, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan
Hiroko Miyahara
ICRC, The University of Tokyo, Kashiwa, Japan
Charles Mundia
Dept. of Geomatic Engineering and Geospatial Information Science, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Nairobi, Kenya
Wilfredo Tavera
IIF, Universidad Mayor De San Andres, La Paz, Bolivia
2Corresponding author. Email:


The radiocarbon concentrations in plant leaves from different altitudes at 3 sampling locations were measured with the new compact accelerator mass spectrometer (AMS) at Yamagata University to investigate air mixing on a global scale. The sampling locations are Yamagata in the mid-latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere (NH), Kenya in the equatorial region (EQ), and Chacaltaya in the Southern Hemisphere (SH). The 14C concentrations of the plant leaves ranged from 102 to 105 pMC. The 14C concentrations at high altitudes and mountain summits showed similar values of 104.2 ± 0.28, 104.3 ± 0.36, and 104.4 ± 0.23 pMC at the Yamagata, Kenya, and Chacaltaya sites, respectively. These results indicate that air from the free troposphere is well mixed on a global scale. The local Suess effect was calculated using the 14C concentrations of leaves at the land surface and mountain summits. The fractions were estimated as 1.25 ± 0.3% and 0.87 ± 0.44% at Yamagata and Nairobi, respectively. This estimation method is more advantageous than the conventional calculation. The life cycle of the leaves sampled is 1 or 2 yr, and hence the leaves allow us to study the 14C concentrations in the ambient atmosphere during a narrow and specific time period.

Atmospheric Carbon Cycle
Copyright © 2013 by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona 

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