Linking high resolution 14C records to ice core time scales by means of Bayesian wiggle-matching

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Raimund Muscheler1, Florian Adolphi1, Michael Friedrich2, Dominik Güttler3, Lukas Wacker3 and Bernd Kromer4, (1)Lund University, Geology, Lund, Sweden, (2)University of Hohenheim, Dept. of Botany, Stuttgart, Germany, (3)ETH Zurich, Dept. of Ion Beam Physics, Zurich, Switzerland, (4)Klaus Tschira Laboratory of Scientific Dating, Mannheim, Germany
Radiocarbon dating is the key method for obtaining chronological information of paleoclimate records covering the last ~45,000 years. The wealth of paleoclimatic information reconstructed from Greenland and Antarctic ice cores are often used as blue-prints to place these radiocarbon dated records into a wider context. However, while layer counted ice core time scales from Greenland provide high precision on the duration of events, the absolute age uncertainty increases back in time. This poses limitations on the possible detail and robustness of comparisons between radiocarbon dated, and ice core records.

Cosmogenic radionuclide records, i.e. based on 14C and 10Be, provide a unique tool for synchronizing different time scales from various archives. They carry the common production rate signal which is modulated by variations in the strength of the helio- and geo- magnetic fields, which are climate-independent processes and global. We will present a method for synchronizing radiocarbon and Greenland ice core time scales back to 16,000 years ago based on Bayesian wiggle matching of cosmogenic radionuclide records. The method utilizes the strength of the high relative precision of ice core time scales as well as the small absolute age uncertainty from tree-ring chronologies and U/Th dated speleothems. The method provides combined error estimates and allows testing i) the accuracy of ice core time scales, ii) the quality of 14C records underlying the radiocarbon calibration curve as well as iii) assumptions of synchronicity of rapid climate changes. Furthermore, we will illustrate how this method can be used for high-precision radiocarbon wiggle-match dating of floating tree ring chronologies beyond 14,000 years ago, and potentially improve the radiocarbon calibration curve.