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It is based on the fact that radiocarbon ( in a sample from a dead plant or animal such as a piece of wood or a fragment of bone provides information that can be used to calculate when the animal or plant died.The older a sample is, the less (the period of time after which half of a given sample will have decayed) is about 5,730 years, the oldest dates that can be reliably measured by this process date to around 50,000 years ago, although special preparation methods occasionally permit accurate analysis of older samples.Research has been ongoing since the 1960s to determine what the proportion of in the atmosphere has been over the past fifty thousand years.
This was possible because although annual plants, such as corn, have a concentrations in the neighbourhood of large cities are lower than the atmospheric average.The deepest parts of the ocean mix very slowly with the surface waters, and the mixing is uneven.The main mechanism that brings deep water to the surface is upwelling, which is more common in regions closer to the equator.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.
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.