Becker-Heidmann, P., Scharpenseel, H.-W. (1992): The use of natural 14C and 13C in soils for studies on global climate change. – In: Long, A., Kra, R. (Hg.): Proceedings of the 14th International Radiocarbon Conference, S. 535–540. Radiocarbon 34,3. Dept. of Geosciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona
Some examples are given to show that the depth distribution curves of natural 14C and 13C of thin-layer sampled soil profiles can be used for inferring changes in soil organic matter and climate changes. By using a simple exchange model, we can determine whether decomposition products are fixed by clay or transported downward toward the groundwater table. We can also estimate the amount of the Greenhouse gases, CO2 and CH4, produced by the decomposition of the organic matter in terrestrial and paddy soils and emitted from the soil. A change from C3 to C4 plants, which might occur during a predicted temperature rise in some areas, thereby influencing the carbon balance, can be clearly detected by the δ13C depth profiles. A change in organic matter input can also be calculated under certain circumstances.