Articles | Volume 1, issue 2
Short communication
28 Jul 2015
Short communication |  | 28 Jul 2015

14C in cropland soil of a long-term field trial – experimental variability and implications for estimating carbon turnover

J. Leifeld and J. Mayer

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Cited articles

Baisden, W. T., Parfitt, R., Ross, C., Schipper, L., and Canessa, S.: Evaluating 50 years of time-series soil radiocarbon data: Towards routine calculation of robust c residence times, Biogeochemistry, 112, 129–137, 2013.
Balesdent, J., Wagner, G. H., and Mariotti, A.: Soil organic matter turnover in long-term field experiments as revealed by C-13 natural abundance, Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J., 52, 118–124, 1988.
Bol, R., Eriksen, J., Smith, P., Garnett, M. H., Coleman, K., and Christensen, B. T.: The natural abundance of C-13, N-15, S-34 and C-14 in archived (1923–2000) plant and soil samples from the askov long-term experiments on animal manure and mineral fertilizer, Rapid Comm. Mass Spectro., 19, 3216–3226, 2005.
Budge, K., Leifeld, J., Hiltbrunner, E., and Fuhrer, J.: Alpine grassland soils contain large proportion of labile carbon but indicate long turnover times, Biogeosciences, 8, 1911–1923,, 2011.
Ellert, B. H. and Janzen, H. H.: Long-term biogeochemical cycling in agroecosystems inferred from 13C, 14C and 15N, J. Geochem. Exp., 88, 198–201, 2006.
Short summary
We present 14C data for field replicates of a controlled agricultural long-term experiment. We show that 14C variability is, on average, 12 times that of the analytical precision of the 14C measurement. Experimental 14C variability is related to neither management nor soil depth. Application of a simple carbon turnover model reveals that experimental variability of radiocarbon results in higher absolute uncertainties of estimated carbon turnover time for deeper soil layers.