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2) This technique is best for dating items which died between on the order of 1000 to on the order of 1,000,000 years ago.Carbon 14 dating is not great for dating things like a year old because if much less than 1 half-life has passed, barely any of the carbon 14 has decayed, and it is difficult to measure the difference in rates and know with certainty the time involved.
Some notes: 1) Obviously, this technique only works for dead organic material.
Aboveground nuclear testing almost doubled the amount of carbon-14 in the atmosphere. The black arrow shows when the Partial Test Ban Treaty was enacted that banned aboveground nuclear tests. A special kind of radiocarbon dating: Bomb radiocarbon dating.
As we mentioned above, the carbon-14 to carbon-12 ratio in the atmosphere remains nearly constant.
A detailed description of radiocarbon dating is available at the Wikipedia radiocarbon dating web page.
Bottom line: Radiocarbon dating is a technique used by scientists to learn the ages of biological specimens from the distant past.