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This man-made fluctuation wasn't a natural occurrence, but it demonstrates the fact that fluctuation is possible and that a period of natural upheaval upon the earth could greatly affect the ratio.
Volcanoes spew out CO which could just as effectively decrease the ratio.
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However, there is strong evidence which suggests that radioactive decay may have been greatly accelerated in the unobservable past.
We must also assume that the ratio of C-12 to C-14 in the atmosphere has remained constant throughout the unobservable past (so we can know what the ratio was at the time of the specimen's death).
The amount of cosmic rays penetrating the earth's atmosphere is itself affected by things like the earth's magnetic field which deflects cosmic rays.
Precise measurements taken over the last 140 years have shown a steady decay in the strength of the earth's magnetic field.