A stronger field would tend to shield the planet from particles from the Sun, diverting them before they could reach the atmosphere to create carbon-14.
and "not very attractive."(8) However, solar specialists knew that the number of particles shot out by the Sun varies with the eleven-year cycle of sunspots.
It was an anxious time for scientists whose reputation for accurate work was on the line.
But what looks like unwelcome noise to one specialist may contain information for another.
In 1958, Hessel de Vries in the Netherlands showed there were systematic anomalies in the carbon-14 dates of tree rings.
His explanation was that the concentration of carbon-14 in the atmosphere had varied over time (by up to one percent).
Climate science required the invention and mastery of many difficult techniques.
These had pitfalls, which could lead to controversy.This was all the usual sort of laboratory problem-solving, a matter of sorting out difficulties by studying one or another detail systematically for months.More unusual was the need to collaborate with all sorts of people around the world, to gather organic materials for dating.As for still earlier periods, carbon-14 dating excited scientists (including some climate scientists) largely because it might shed light on human evolution the timing of our development as a species, and how climate changes had affected that.(2) It was especially fascinating to discover that our particular species of humans arose something like 100,000 years ago, no doubt deeply influenced by the ice ages.(3) A few scientists noticed that the techniques might also be helpful for the study of climate itself.From its origins in Chicago, carbon-14 dating spread rapidly to other centers, for example the grandly named Geochronometric Laboratory at Yale University.One application was a timetable of climate changes for tens of thousands of years back.