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Production rates vary because of changes to the cosmic ray flux caused by the heliospheric modulation (solar wind and solar magnetic field), and due to variations in the Earth's magnetic field.
The latter can create significant variations in The New Zealand curve is representative for the Southern Hemisphere, the Austrian curve is representative for the Northern Hemisphere.
One of the frequent uses of the technique is to date organic remains from archaeological sites.
Plants fix atmospheric carbon during photosynthesis, so the level of C level for the calculation can either be estimated, or else directly compared with known year-by-year data from tree-ring data (dendrochronology) up to 10,000 years ago (using overlapping data from live and dead trees in a given area), or else from cave deposits (speleothems), back to about 45,000 years before the present.
Liquid scintillation counting is the preferred method.
during his tenure as a professor at the University of Chicago.
The fraction of the radiation transmitted through the dead skin layer is estimated to be 0.11.
Small amounts of carbon-14 are not easily detected by typical Geiger–Müller (G-M) detectors; it is estimated that G-M detectors will not normally detect contamination of less than about 100,000 disintegrations per minute (0.05 µCi).
This is small compared to the doses from potassium-40 (0.39 m Sv/year) and radon (variable).
Carbon dioxide also dissolves in water and thus permeates the oceans, but at a slower rate.
has been estimated to be roughly 12 to 16 years in the northern hemisphere.
Carbon-14 can be used as a radioactive tracer in medicine.
In the initial variant of the urea breath test, a diagnostic test for Helicobacter pylori, urea labeled with approximately 37 k Bq (1.0 μCi) carbon-14 is fed to a patient (i.e., 37,000 decays per second). pylori infection, the bacterial urease enzyme breaks down the urea into ammonia and radioactively-labeled carbon dioxide, which can be detected by low-level counting of the patient's breath.