he stable isotope ratios of atmospheric CO2 (18O/16O and 13C/12C) have been monitored since 1977 to improve our understanding of the global carbon cycle, because biosphere–atmosphere exchange fluxes affect the different atomic masses in a measurable way. Interpreting the 18O/16O variability has proved difficult, however, because oxygen isotopes in CO2 are influenced by both the carbon cycle and the water cycle.