A Caltech Library Service

Carbon isotopes of trees from arid environments and implications for reconstructing atmospheric CO_2 concentration

Feng, Xiahong and Epstein, Samuel (1995) Carbon isotopes of trees from arid environments and implications for reconstructing atmospheric CO_2 concentration. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 59 (12). pp. 2599-2608. ISSN 0016-7037. doi:10.1016/0016-7037(95)00152-2.

Full text is not posted in this repository. Consult Related URLs below.

Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Four trees from San Dimas, the Santa Monica Mountains and the White Mountains of California, and Sinai Peninsula are studied for carbon isotope ratios. These trees grew in arid environments where vegetation is sparse and canopy effect is minimized. The δ^(13)C time series obtained from wood segments of these trees contain high-frequency variations and a long-term decreasing trend. The high-frequency signals can be effectively explained by the variations of precipitation. The low-frequency trend cannot be accounted for only by the δ^(13)C variation of atmospheric CO_2. The CO_2 concentration in the atmosphere also attributed to the progressive depletion in the ^(13)C contents of these trees. These results indicate a possibility of using δ^(13)C of plants as a proxy indicator of the concentration of atmospheric CO_2, provided that the δ^(13)C value of the open atmosphere can be constrained independently. Plant water-use efficiency is not a simple function of the CO_2 concentration of the atmosphere. It can increase, remain constant, or decrease with an increase of the atmospheric CO_2 concentration.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Additional Information:© 1995 Elsevier Science Ltd. Received September 2, 1994; accepted in revised form March 23, 1995. Sample collections at SDEF and SMM were assisted by D. A. Larson, R. M. Rumball-Petre, and R. Sauvajot. The bristlecone pine wood was dated by the Tree-Ring Laboratory of the University of Arizona. Drs. J. Cat and Y. Waisel kindly provided us with climatic and ecological information for Sinai Peninsula. Discussions with J. Bonner and J. Severinghause have been most helpful. We drank E. Dent, X. XII, and S. McKinnon for their technical support. The manuscript was improved by the comments of T. W. D. Edward and two anonymous reviewers. This work was supported by NSF grant No. ATM9219891 and DOE grant No. DE-FC03-90ER61010.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-FC03-90ER61010
Issue or Number:12
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20131016-154445568
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Xiahong Feng, Samuel Epstein, Carbon isotopes of trees from arid environments and implications for reconstructing atmospheric CO2 concentration, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, Volume 59, Issue 12, June 1995, Pages 2599-2608, ISSN 0016-7037, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:41959
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:17 Oct 2013 21:30
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 04:36

Repository Staff Only: item control page