Modelling cosmic radiation events in the tree-ring radiocarbon record

Article


Zhang, Qingyuan, Sharma, Utkarsh, Dennis, Jordan A. Dennis, Scifo, Andrea, Kuitems, Margot, Büntgen, Ulf, Owens, Mathew J., Dee, Michael W. and Pope, Benjamin J. S.. 2022. "Modelling cosmic radiation events in the tree-ring radiocarbon record." Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences. 478 (2266). https://doi.org/10.1098/rspa.2022.0497
Article Title

Modelling cosmic radiation events in the tree-ring radiocarbon record

ERA Journal ID39856
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsZhang, Qingyuan, Sharma, Utkarsh, Dennis, Jordan A. Dennis, Scifo, Andrea, Kuitems, Margot, Büntgen, Ulf, Owens, Mathew J., Dee, Michael W. and Pope, Benjamin J. S.
Journal TitleProceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Journal Citation478 (2266)
Number of Pages21
Year2022
PublisherRoyal Society Publishing
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
ISSN1364-5021
1471-2946
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1098/rspa.2022.0497
Web Address (URL)https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rspa.2022.0497
Abstract

Annually resolved measurements of the radiocarbon content in tree-rings have revealed rare sharp rises in carbon-14 production. These ‘Miyake events’ are likely produced by rare increases in cosmic radiation from the Sun or other energetic astrophysical sources. The radiocarbon produced is not only circulated through the Earth’s atmosphere and oceans, but also absorbed by the biosphere and locked in the annual growth rings of trees. To interpret high-resolution tree-ring radiocarbon measurements therefore necessitates modelling the entire global carbon cycle. Here, we introduce ‘ticktack’ (https://github.com/SharmaLlama/ticktack/), the first open-source Python package that connects box models of the carbon cycle with modern Bayesian inference tools. We use this to analyse all public annual  14C tree data, and infer posterior parameters for all six known Miyake events. They do not show a consistent relationship to the solar cycle, and several display extended durations that challenge either astrophysical or geophysical models.

Keywordsradiocarbon; Miyake events; carbon cycle; atmospheric carbon; solar flares
Byline AffiliationsUniversity of Queensland
University of Groningen, Netherlands
University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
Czech Academy of Sciences, Czech Republic
Masaryk University, Czech Republic
Swiss Federal Research Institute, Switzerland
University of Reading, United Kingdom
Centre for Astrophysics
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