Ultra-High Resolution Nitrate in Polar Ice as Indicator of Past Solar Activity

  • Gisela Dreschhoff
  • Edward J. Zeller
Conference paper


Ionization in the polar atmosphere causes the formation of nitrate compounds, which are frozen out and incorporated into the layers of the polar ice sheets. From a 122-m ice core collected in 1992 on the central Greenland ice sheet, it has been possible to examine a solar signal in a ultra-high resolution record of nitrate concentrations. The sequence extends over a period of 415 years at a temporal resolution of no less than one analysis per month (total number of samples 7776 resulting from ~1.5 cm sampling along the entire core). This type of measurement reveals major nitrate anomalies which are thought to result from the injection of individual solar proton events into the winter polar stratosphere. For this reason, the large nitrate anomalies provide the possibility to delineate a signal of solar activity well beyond the known geophysical records.


Solar Activity Sunspot Number Polar Vortex Maunder Minimum Solar Proton Event 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gisela Dreschhoff
    • 1
  • Edward J. Zeller
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Kansas Space Technology CenterLawrenceUSA

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