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The different elements of the carbon exchange reservoir vary in how much carbon they store, and in how long it takes for the These organisms contain about 1.3% of the carbon in the reservoir; sea organisms have a mass of less than 1% of those on land and are not shown on the diagram.

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This fossil fuel effect (also known as the Suess effect, after Hans Suess, who first reported it in 1955) would only amount to a reduction of 0.2% in activity if the additional carbon from fossil fuels were distributed throughout the carbon exchange reservoir, but because of the long delay in mixing with the deep ocean, the actual effect is a 3% reduction.

in the atmosphere, with the peak level occurring in 1964 for the northern hemisphere, and in 1966 for the southern hemisphere.

Since the calibration curve (Int Cal) also reports past atmospheric concentration using this conventional age, any conventional ages calibrated against the Int Cal curve will produce a correct calibrated age.

When a date is quoted, the reader should be aware that if it is an uncalibrated date (a term used for dates given in radiocarbon years) it may differ substantially from the best estimate of the actual calendar date, both because it uses the wrong value for the half-life of and each component is also referred to individually as a carbon exchange reservoir.

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Other corrections must be made to account for the proportion of throughout the biosphere (reservoir effects).

Additional complications come from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and oil, and from the above-ground nuclear tests done in the 1950s and 1960s.

Correcting for isotopic fractionation, as is done for all radiocarbon dates to allow comparison between results from different parts of the biosphere, gives an apparent age of about 400 years for ocean surface water.

thus introduced takes a long time to percolate through the entire volume of the ocean.

By contrast, methane created from petroleum showed no radiocarbon activity because of its age.

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