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No Coincident Nitrate Enhancement Events in Polar Ice Cores Following the Largest Known Solar Storms

Mekhaldi, F. LU ; Mcconnell, J. R.; Adolphi, F. LU ; Arienzo, M. M.; Chellman, N. J.; Maselli, O. J.; Moy, A. D.; Plummer, C. T.; Sigl, M. and Muscheler, R. LU (2017) In Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 122(21). p.11-11
Abstract

Knowledge on the occurrence rate of extreme solar storms is strongly limited by the relatively recent advent of satellite monitoring of the Sun. To extend our perspective of solar storms prior to the satellite era and because atmospheric ionization induced by solar energetic particles (SEPs) can lead to the production of odd nitrogen, nitrate spikes in ice cores have been tentatively used to document both the occurrence and intensity of past SEP events. However, the reliability of the use of nitrate in ice records as a proxy for SEP events is strongly debated. This is partly due to equivocal detection of nitrate spikes in single ice cores and possible alternative sources, such as biomass burning plumes. Here we present new continuous... (More)

Knowledge on the occurrence rate of extreme solar storms is strongly limited by the relatively recent advent of satellite monitoring of the Sun. To extend our perspective of solar storms prior to the satellite era and because atmospheric ionization induced by solar energetic particles (SEPs) can lead to the production of odd nitrogen, nitrate spikes in ice cores have been tentatively used to document both the occurrence and intensity of past SEP events. However, the reliability of the use of nitrate in ice records as a proxy for SEP events is strongly debated. This is partly due to equivocal detection of nitrate spikes in single ice cores and possible alternative sources, such as biomass burning plumes. Here we present new continuous high-resolution measurements of nitrate and of the biomass burning species ammonium and black carbon, from several Antarctic and Greenland ice cores. We investigate periods covering the two largest known SEP events of 775 and 994 Common Era as well as the Carrington event and the hard SEP event of February 1956. We report no coincident nitrate spikes associated with any of these benchmark events. We also demonstrate the low reproducibility of the nitrate signal in multiple ice cores and confirm the significant relationship between biomass burning plumes and nitrate spikes in individual ice cores. In the light of these new data, there is no line of evidence that supports the hypothesis that ice cores preserve or document detectable amounts of nitrate produced by SEPs, even for the most extreme events known to date.

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Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Ice core, Nitrate, Solar energetic particles, Solar storms
in
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
volume
122
issue
21
pages
11 - 11
publisher
American Geophysical Union
external identifiers
  • scopus:85032880946
  • wos:000417195500026
ISSN
2169-897X
DOI
10.1002/2017JD027325
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
b9605981-ef46-4341-a855-2b69a7eff6b9
date added to LUP
2017-11-16 12:26:54
date last changed
2018-02-19 02:01:42
@article{b9605981-ef46-4341-a855-2b69a7eff6b9,
  abstract     = {<p>Knowledge on the occurrence rate of extreme solar storms is strongly limited by the relatively recent advent of satellite monitoring of the Sun. To extend our perspective of solar storms prior to the satellite era and because atmospheric ionization induced by solar energetic particles (SEPs) can lead to the production of odd nitrogen, nitrate spikes in ice cores have been tentatively used to document both the occurrence and intensity of past SEP events. However, the reliability of the use of nitrate in ice records as a proxy for SEP events is strongly debated. This is partly due to equivocal detection of nitrate spikes in single ice cores and possible alternative sources, such as biomass burning plumes. Here we present new continuous high-resolution measurements of nitrate and of the biomass burning species ammonium and black carbon, from several Antarctic and Greenland ice cores. We investigate periods covering the two largest known SEP events of 775 and 994 Common Era as well as the Carrington event and the hard SEP event of February 1956. We report no coincident nitrate spikes associated with any of these benchmark events. We also demonstrate the low reproducibility of the nitrate signal in multiple ice cores and confirm the significant relationship between biomass burning plumes and nitrate spikes in individual ice cores. In the light of these new data, there is no line of evidence that supports the hypothesis that ice cores preserve or document detectable amounts of nitrate produced by SEPs, even for the most extreme events known to date.</p>},
  author       = {Mekhaldi, F. and Mcconnell, J. R. and Adolphi, F. and Arienzo, M. M. and Chellman, N. J. and Maselli, O. J. and Moy, A. D. and Plummer, C. T. and Sigl, M. and Muscheler, R.},
  issn         = {2169-897X},
  keyword      = {Ice core,Nitrate,Solar energetic particles,Solar storms},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {11},
  number       = {21},
  pages        = {11--11},
  publisher    = {American Geophysical Union},
  series       = {Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres},
  title        = {No Coincident Nitrate Enhancement Events in Polar Ice Cores Following the Largest Known Solar Storms},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2017JD027325},
  volume       = {122},
  year         = {2017},
}