Solar Physics

, Volume 289, Issue 12, pp 4691–4700 | Cite as

Fluence Ordering of Solar Energetic Proton Events Using Cosmogenic Radionuclide Data

  • G. A. Kovaltsov
  • I. G. UsoskinEmail author
  • E. W. Cliver
  • W. F. Dietrich
  • A. J. Tylka


While data on the cosmogenic isotopes 14C and 10Be made it possible to evaluate extreme solar proton events (SPEs) in the past, their relation to standard parameters quantifying the SPE strengths, viz. the integrated fluence of protons with energy above 30 MeV, F 30, is ambiguous and strongly depends on the assumed shape of the energy spectrum. Here we propose a new index, the integral fluence of an SPE above 200 MeV, F 200, which is related to the production of the cosmogenic isotopes 14C and 10Be in the Earth atmosphere, independently of the assumptions on the energy spectrum of the event. The F 200 fluence is reconstructed from past cosmogenic isotope data, which provides an assessment of the occurrence probability density function for extreme SPEs. In particular, we evaluate that extreme SPEs with F 200>1010 cm−2 occur no more frequently than once per 10 – 15 kyr.


Solar energetic particles Cosmogenic radioisotopes 



G.A. Kovaltsov is grateful to the Academy of Finland for partial support. I.G. Usoskin’s contribution was made in the framework of the ReSoLVE Centre of Excellence (Academy of Finland, project no. 272157). E.W. Cliver acknowledges support from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. A.J. Tylka and W.F. Dietrich are supported by NASA Solar & Heliophysics SR&T under NNH12AT09I.


  1. Andriopoulou, M., Mavromichalaki, H., Plainaki, C., Belov, A., Eroshenko, E.: 2011, Intense ground-level enhancements of solar cosmic rays during the last solar cycles. Solar Phys. 269, 155.  DOI. ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Atri, D., Melott, A.L.: 2014, Cosmic rays and terrestrial life: a brief review. Astropart. Phys. 53, 186.  DOI. ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bazilevskaya, G.A., Cliver, E.W., Kovaltsov, G.A., Ling, A.G., Shea, M., Smart, D., Usoskin, I.G.: 2014, Solar cycle in the heliosphere and cosmic rays. Space Sci. Rev., in press.  DOI
  4. Beer, J., McCracken, K., von Steiger, R.: 2012, Cosmogenic Radionuclides: Theory and Applications in the Terrestrial and Space Environments, Springer, Berlin. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cliver, E.W., Dietrich, W.F.: 2013, The 1859 space weather event revisited: limits of extreme activity. J. Space Weather Space Clim. 3(26), A31.  DOI. ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cliver, E.W., Tylka, A.J., Dietrich, W.F., Ling, A.G.: 2014, On a solar origin for the cosmogenic nuclide event of 775 A.D. Astrophys. J. 781, 32.  DOI. ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Forbush, S.E.: 1946, Three unusual cosmic-ray increases possibly due to charged particles from the Sun. Phys. Rev. 70, 771.  DOI. ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Freier, P.S., Webber, W.R.: 1963, Exponential rigidity spectrums for solar-flare cosmic rays. J. Geophys. Res. 68, 1605.  DOI. ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Jull, A.J.T., Panyushkina, I.P., Lange, T.E., Kukarskih, V.V., Myglan, V.S., Clark, K.J., Salzer, M.W., Burr, G.S., Leavitt, S.W.: 2014, Excursions in the 14C record at ad 774 – 775 in tree rings from Russia and America. Geophys. Res. Lett. 41, 3004.  DOI. ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kovaltsov, G.A., Mishev, A., Usoskin, I.G.: 2012, A new model of cosmogenic production of radiocarbon 14C in the atmosphere. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 337, 114. ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Kovaltsov, G.A., Usoskin, I.G.: 2010, A new 3D numerical model of cosmogenic nuclide 10Be production in the atmosphere. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 291, 182.  DOI. ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kovaltsov, G.A., Usoskin, I.G.: 2014, Occurrence probability of large solar energetic particle events: assessment from data on cosmogenic radionuclides in lunar rocks. Solar Phys. 289, 211.  DOI. ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. McCracken, K.G.: 2004, Geomagnetic and atmospheric effects upon the cosmogenic 10Be observed in polar ice. J. Geophys. Res. 109(A18), A04101.  DOI. ADSGoogle Scholar
  14. McCracken, K.G., Dreschhoff, G.A.M., Zeller, E.J., Smart, D.F., Shea, M.A.: 2001, Solar cosmic ray events for the period 1561 – 1994: 1. Identification in polar ice, 1561 – 1950. J. Geophys. Res. 106, 21585. ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Mewaldt, R.A.: 2006, Solar energetic particle composition, energy spectra, and space weather. Space Sci. Rev. 124, 303.  DOI. ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Miyake, F., Masuda, K., Nakamura, T.: 2013a, Another rapid event in the carbon-14 content of tree rings. Nat. Commun. 4, 1748.  DOI. ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Miyake, F., Masuda, K., Nakamura, T.: 2013b, Lengths of Schwabe cycles in the seventh and eighth centuries indicated by precise measurement of carbon-14 content in tree rings. J. Geophys. Res. 118, 7483.  DOI. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Miyake, F., Nagaya, K., Masuda, K., Nakamura, T.: 2012, A signature of cosmic-ray increase in ad 774 – 775 from tree rings in Japan. Nature 486, 240.  DOI. ADSGoogle Scholar
  19. Pavlov, A.K., Blinov, A.V., Konstantinov, A.N., Ostryakov, V.M., Vasilyev, G.I., Vdovina, M.A., Volkov, P.A.: 2013, AD 775 pulse of cosmogenic radionuclides production as imprint of a Galactic gamma-ray burst. Mon. Not. Roy. Astron. Soc. 435, 2878.  DOI. ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Reedy, R.C.: 2012, Update on Solar-Proton Fluxes During the Last Five Solar Activity Cycles, Lunar and Planetary Institute Science Conference Abstracts 43, Springer, Berlin, 1285. Google Scholar
  21. Schrijver, C.J., Beer, J., Baltensperger, U., Cliver, E.W., Güdel, M., Hudson, H.S., McCracken, K.G., Osten, R.A., Peter, T., Soderblom, D.R., Usoskin, I.G., Wolff, E.W.: 2012, Estimating the frequency of extremely energetic solar events, based on solar, stellar, lunar, and terrestrial records. J. Geophys. Res. 117, A08103.  DOI. ADSGoogle Scholar
  22. Shea, M.A., Smart, D.F., McCracken, K.G., Dreschhoff, G.A.M., Spence, H.E.: 2006, Solar proton events for 450 years: the Carrington event in perspective. Adv. Space Res. 38, 232. ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Smart, D.F., Shea, M.A.: 2002, A review of solar proton events during the 22nd solar cycle. Adv. Space Res. 30, 1033. ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Solanki, S.K., Usoskin, I.G., Kromer, B., Schüssler, M., Beer, J.: 2004, Unusual activity of the Sun during recent decades compared to the previous 11 000 years. Nature 431, 1084.  DOI. ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Stuiver, M., Reimer, P.J., Bard, E., Burr, G.S., Hughen, K.A., Kromer, B., McCormac, G., van der Plicht, J., Spurk, M.: 1998, Intcal98 radiocarbon age calibration, 24 000-0 cal BP. Radiocarbon 40(3), 1041. Google Scholar
  26. Thomas, B.C., Melott, A.L., Arkenberg, K.R., Snyder, B.R.: 2013, Terrestrial effects of possible astrophysical sources of an AD 774 – 775 increase in 14C production. Geophys. Res. Lett. 40, 1237.  DOI. ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Tylka, A., Dietrich, W.: 2009, A new and comprehensive analysis of proton spectra in ground-level encahnced (GLE) solar particle events. In: 31th International Cosmic Ray Conference, Universal Academy Press, Lodź. Google Scholar
  28. Usoskin, I.G.: 2013, A history of solar activity over millennia. Living Rev. Solar Phys. 10, 1.  DOI. ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Usoskin, I.G., Kovaltsov, G.A.: 2012, Occurrence of extreme solar particle events: assessment from historical proxy data. Astrophys. J. 757, 92.  DOI. ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Usoskin, I.G., Horiuchi, K., Solanki, S., Kovaltsov, G.A., Bard, E.: 2009, On the common solar signal in different cosmogenic isotope data sets. J. Geophys. Res. 114, A03112.  DOI. ADSGoogle Scholar
  31. Usoskin, I.G., Kromer, B., Ludlow, F., Beer, J., Friedrich, M., Kovaltsov, G.A., Solanki, S.K., Wacker, L.: 2013, The AD775 cosmic event revisited: the Sun is to blame. Astron. Astrophys. 552, L3.  DOI. ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Usoskin, I.G., Hulot, G., Gallet, Y., Roth, R., Licht, A., Joos, F., Kovaltsov, G.A., Thébault, E., Khokhlov, A.: 2014, Evidence for distinct modes of solar activity. Astron. Astrophys. 562, L10.  DOI. ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Usoskin, I.G., Solanki, S.K., Kovaltsov, G.A., Beer, J., Kromer, B.: 2006, Solar proton events in cosmogenic isotope data. Geophys. Res. Lett. 33, L08107.  DOI. ADSGoogle Scholar
  34. Vainio, R., Desorgher, L., Heynderickx, D., Storini, M., Flückiger, E., Horne, R.B., Kovaltsov, G.A., Kudela, K., Laurenza, M., McKenna-Lawlor, S., Rothkaehl, H., Usoskin, I.G.: 2009, Dynamics of the Earth’s particle radiation environment. Space Sci. Rev. 147, 187.  DOI. ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Vonmoos, M., Beer, J., Muscheler, R.: 2006, Large variations in holocene solar activity: constraints from 10Be in the Greenland ice core project. J. Geophys. Res. 111(A10), A10105.  DOI. ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Webber, W.R., Higbie, P.R., McCracken, K.G.: 2007, Production of the cosmogenic isotopes 3H, 7Be, 10Be, and 36Cl in the Earth’s atmosphere by solar and galactic cosmic rays. J. Geophys. Res. 112, A10106.  DOI. ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Wolff, E.W., Bigler, M., Curran, M.A.J., Dibb, J.E., Frey, M.M., Legrand, M., McConnell, J.R.: 2012, The Carrington event not observed in most ice core nitrate records. Geophys. Res. Lett. 39, L08503.  DOI. ADSGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. A. Kovaltsov
    • 1
  • I. G. Usoskin
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • E. W. Cliver
    • 4
    • 5
  • W. F. Dietrich
    • 6
  • A. J. Tylka
    • 7
  1. 1.Ioffe Physical-Technical InstituteSt. PetersburgRussia
  2. 2.Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory (Oulu unit)University of OuluOuluFinland
  3. 3.Department of PhysicsUniversity of OuluOuluFinland
  4. 4.Space Vehicles Directorate, Air Force Research LaboratoryKirtland AFBAlbuquerqueUSA
  5. 5.National Solar ObservatorySunspotUSA
  6. 6.Praxis, Inc.AlexandriaUSA
  7. 7.Code 672NASA Goddard Space Flight CenterGreenbeltUSA

Personalised recommendations