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This resemblance is used in chemical and biological research, in a technique called carbon labeling: carbon-14 atoms can be used to replace nonradioactive carbon, in order to trace chemical and biochemical reactions involving carbon atoms from any given organic compound.
Radiocarbon is also used to detect disturbance in natural ecosystems; for example, in peatland landscapes, radiocarbon can indicate that carbon which was previously stored in organic soils is being released due to land clearance or climate change.
The rates of disintegration of potassium-40 and carbon-14 in the normal adult body are comparable (a few thousand disintegrated nuclei per second).
This is small compared to the doses from potassium-40 (0.39 m Sv/year) and radon (variable).
Carbon dioxide also dissolves in water and thus permeates the oceans, but at a slower rate.
has been estimated to be roughly 12 to 16 years in the northern hemisphere.