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Radiocarbon variations with the 11-year solar cycle during the last century

Naturevolume 287pages320322 (1980) | Download Citation



As 14C is produced in the atmosphere by interactions between neutrons and nitrogen atoms, changes in the cosmic ray flux associated with the 11-yr solar cycle will produce variations in 14C production with the same period1. These variations are difficult to observe because the atmosphere acts as a low-pass filter, greatly attenuating their amplitude2. Previous investigations on short-term 14C variations in tree rings either reported no correlation with the 11-yr solar cycle3–5 or found a correlation with an average amplitude of 1.5 to 3‰ (refs 6–10). However, Baxter et al. reported an average amplitude of about 10‰ in tree rings11,12 and in samples of whiskies, wines and plant seeds13, and Lavrukhina et al.14 found a 10‰ correlation amplitude in wood samples. However, very precise 14C tree-ring measurements reported more recently15–17 show only minor short-term 14C variations. A comparison of resultsobtained by Stuiver15 and Baxter et al.11 suggests that the larger 14C fluctuations found by the latter group may be due to a lower precision of their 14C measurements. Here we have dated wines from the period 1909–52 and our results show 14C variations with an average amplitude of 4.3±1.1‰ during the 11-yr solar cycle.

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  1. Department of Nuclear Physics, Tbilisi State University, Tbilisi, USSR

    • A. A. Burchuladze
    • , S. V. Pagava
    •  & G. I. Togonidze
  2. Department of Nuclear Physics and Institute of Physics and Biophysics, Comenius University, 81631, Bratislava, Czechoslovakia

    • P. Povinec
    •  & S. UsaČev


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