A review is given of some critical events in the development 14C aerosol science, and the profound influence of 14C accelerator mass spectrometry on its current applications and future prospects. The birth of this discipline occurred shortly after the initial development of radiocarbon dating. Unlike dating, which is founded on the continual decay of 14C and the resulting full range of 14C/12C ratios in once-living matter, 14C applications to atmospheric aerosol research relate primarily to the determination of mixing ratios of fossil and biomass components. Such determinations have come to have major importance in work ranging from the resolution of woodburning and motor vehicle components of urban particulate pollution, to the apportionment of radiation-forcing (black) particulate carbon from natural wildfires and anthropogenic regional plumes. The development of this area has paralleled that of accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS), itself, with the one or the other alternately serving as the driving force. The remarkable million-fold improvement in sensitivity made possible by AMS has become critical in meeting rapidly emerging societal concerns with the origins and effects of individual carbonaceous species on health and climate.
Citation: Proceedings of the International Workshop on Frontiers in Accelerator Mass Spectrometry
Publisher Info: National Institute for Environmental Studies, Tsukuba, -1
Pub Type: Books
14C aerosol reference materials, 14C aerosol research, biomass burning, combustion aersol, microgram-level AMS