Net Isotopic Signature of Atmospheric CO2 Sources and Sinks: No Change since the Little Ice Age

by D. Koutsoyiannis, March 14, 2024 in MDPI – (Open Access)


Recent studies have provided evidence, based on analyses of instrumental measurements of the last seven decades, for a unidirectional, potentially causal link between temperature as the cause and carbon dioxide concentration ([CO2]) as the effect. In the most recent study, this finding was supported by analysing the carbon cycle and showing that the natural [CO2] changes due to temperature rise are far larger (by a factor > 3) than human emissions, while the latter are no larger than 4% of the total. Here, we provide additional support for these findings by examining the signatures of the stable carbon isotopes, 12 and 13. Examining isotopic data in four important observation sites, we show that the standard metric δ13C is consistent with an input isotopic signature that is stable over the entire period of observations (>40 years), i.e., not affected by increases in human CO2 emissions. In addition, proxy data covering the period after 1500 AD also show stable behaviour. These findings confirm the major role of the biosphere in the carbon cycle and a non-discernible signature of humans.