Ammonium: 2 – The Aurora Ring

Ammonium - The Aurora Ring

The early versions of the ammonium record extracted from the Greenland GISP 2 ice core clearly suggested ammonium outliers are closely associated with Solar Proton Events [such as the Carrington Event 1859] and this solar connection was further underlined by the low ammonium levels recorded during the Maunder Minimum [officially about 1645 to 1715].

Mayewski 1995 - Ammonium_Maunder Minimum

The connection with Solar Proton Events was subsequently confirmed [for some observers] by a spike in the nitrate record from the Greenland GISP H ice core chronology which aligned with the Carrington Event of 1859.

GISP-H Carrington Event

The Carrington Event Not Observed In Most Ice Core Nitrate Records
E W Wolff, M Bigler, M A J Curran, J E Dibb, M M Frey, M Legrand, J R McConnell
Geophysical Research Letters – Volume 39 – Issue 8 – April 2012
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2012GL051603/abstract

One peculiarity of the nitrate solar proton signal in the Greenland ice sheet is that it’s stronger in central Greenland [where the GISP and GRIP ice cores were extracted].

In general, higher nitrate levels are found in central Greenland compared to southern and northern Greenland locations.

Sulfate and nitrate firn concentrations on the Greenland ice sheet
2. Temporal anthropogenic deposition changes
Hubertus Fischer, Dietmar Wagenbach and Joseph Kipfstuhl
Journal of Geophysical Research – Vol 103 No D17 Pages 21,935-21,942, 20 Sept 1998
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/98JD01886/pdf

This suggests the Aurora Ring [which is regularly located over southern Greenland] is associated with an inner flux of solar protons that govern the nitrate and ammonium levels observed in the ice core chronologies from central Greenland.

Aurora Electrons

Auroras usually occur in ring-shaped areas about 4,000 km (2,500 miles) in diameter around the magnetic poles of the Earth.

These rings are known as auroral ovals.

The northern oval traces a path across central Alaska and Canada, Greenland, and northern Scandinavia and Russia.

NASA – Aurora
http://pwg.gsfc.nasa.gov/polar/EPO/auroral_poster/aurora_all.pdf

NOAA Aurora Forecast

NOAA – Aurora – 30 minute forecast
http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/products/aurora-30-minute-forecast

The immediate cause of the ionization and excitation of atmospheric constituents leading to auroral emissions was discovered in 1960, when a pioneering rocket flight from Fort Churchill in Canada revealed a flux of electrons entering the atmosphere from above.

The main findings have been that auroral arcs and other bright forms are due to electrons that have been accelerated during the final few 10,000 km or so of their plunge into the atmosphere.

These electrons often, but not always, exhibit a peak in their energy distribution, and are preferentially aligned along the local direction of the magnetic field.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aurora

This inner flux of solar protons is associated with ozone depletion [aka The Ozone Hole] and the creation of HOx and NOy chemicals in the atmosphere.

Solar proton events (SPEs) can cause changes in constituents in the Earth’s middle atmosphere.

The highly energetic protons cause ionizations, excitations,dissociations, and dissociative ionizations of the background constituents.

Complicated ion chemistry leads to HOx production and dissociation of N2 leads to NOy production.

Both the HOx and NOy increases can result in changes to ozone in the stratosphere and mesosphere.

The HOx increases lead to short-lived ozone decreases in the mesosphere and upper stratosphere due to the short life-times of the HOx constituents.

The NOy increases lead to long-lived stratospheric ozone changes because of the long lifetime of NOy constituents in this region.

The NOy-induced ozone changes are generally decreases, however, the NOy constituents can interfere with chlorine and bromine radicals in the lowest part of the stratosphere and cause ozone increases.

Temperature changes have been predicted to occur as a result of the larger SPEs.

Atmospheric changes have been observed as a result of eleven SPEs since 1969.

Neutral wind variations were measured shortly after the July 1982 and April 1984 SPEs.

The recent July 2000 SPE, caused NOy increases that lasted for two months past the event.

The two periods of largest SPEs (August 1912 and October 1989) caused ozone decreases that lasted for several weeks past the events.

The eruptions of solar protons, which are more frequent near solar maximum, can produce ionizations, dissociations, dissociative ionizations, and excitations in the middle atmosphere.

The very important middle atmospheric families of HOx (H, OH, HO2) and NOy (N, NO, NO2, NO3, N2O5, HNO3, HO2NO2, ClONO2, BrONO2) are produced either directly or through a photochemical sequence.

As a result, the chemistry of the polar middle atmosphere (stratosphere and mesosphere) can be dramatically altered by large solar proton events.

Northern Hemisphere polar ozone

Plate 1. Taken from Fig. 1 of Jackman et al. [2001].
NOAA 14 SBUV/2 Northern Hemisphere polar ozone in ppmv before (July 13, 2000) and during (July 14/15) the solar proton event period at 0.5 hPa (-55 km).
The white circle indicates the boundary at 60°N geomagnetic, above which solar protons can penetrate to the Earth’s atmosphere.

The Effect of Solar Proton Events on Ozone and Other Constituents
Charles H. Jackman and Richard D. McPeter
http://acd-ext.gsfc.nasa.gov/People/Jackman/Jackman_2004.pdf
Solar Variability and its Effects on Climate
American Geophysical Union – Geophysical Monograph 141 – January 2004
http://eu.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-0875904068,subjectCd-PH10.html

However, the key factor is that there is significantly less precipitation over northern Greenland that can capture the transient atmospheric NOy chemicals produced over northern Greenland.

Therefore, the formation of transient atmospheric NOy chemicals and the increased levels of precipitation in central Greenland conspire to increase the concentration of NOy chemicals in the central Greenland ice sheet.

Greenland Precipitation

University of Montana – Present Day Greenland
http://websrv.cs.umt.edu/isis/index.php/Present_Day_Greenland

This precipitation gradient causes much of northern Greenland to be classed as polar desert.

Polar deserts are areas with annual precipitation less than 250 millimeters and a mean temperature during the warmest month of less than 10 °C.

Polar deserts on Earth cover nearly 5 million square kilometers and are mostly hard bedrock or gravel plains.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polar_desert

Peary Land is a peninsula in northern Greenland, extending into the Arctic Ocean.

Being mostly north of the 82°N parallel, it contains the most northerly ice-free region of the world, mostly in Southern Peary Land (such as Melville Land just north of the Independence Fjord).

Precipitation levels are so low (only about 25 to 200 mm per year, all as snow) that it is called a polar desert.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peary_Land

Peary Land - North Greenland

The precipitation gradient introduces an additional set of complications because most of the ice covering northern Greenland originated in an area of Greenland with higher precipitation.

Firstly, the flow of ice [from areas of high precipitation] causes the ice sheet to progressively thin because the surface ice experiences ablation whilst to bottom ice experiences melting.

In glaciology and meteorology, ablation – the opposite of accumulation – refers to all processes that remove snow, ice, or water from a glacier or snowfield.

Ablation refers to the melting of snow or ice that runs off the glacier, evaporation, sublimation, calving, or erosive removal of snow by wind.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ablation#Glaciology

Surface ablation tends to increase the concentration of embedded particles [soot and dust] whilst allowing nitrates and ammonium to be liberated into the atmosphere or the microbial food chain.

Biodegradable Ice

See:
https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2015/11/25/the-anammox-amendment/
https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2015/11/26/frozen-fauna/

This concentration mechanism [via ablation] was [unsuspectingly] confirmed in 1998.

However, comparison of the absolute concentration of concurrent sulfate levels in the five cores reveals systematic geographic variations with sulfate levels strongly increasing from south to north.

In contrast, higher nitrate firn concentrations are found in central Greenland than on the southern and northern ice sheet.

Sulfate and nitrate firn concentrations on the Greenland ice sheet
2. Temporal anthropogenic deposition changes
Hubertus Fischer, Dietmar Wagenbach and Joseph Kipfstuhl
Journal of Geophysical Research – Vol 103 No D17 Pages 21,935-21,942, 20 Sept 1998
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/98JD01886/pdf

Secondly, ice layers in the ice sheet don’t all flow [aka thin] at the same rate [due to differences in viscosity] and chemical diffusion may occur within [and between] the flowing ice layers.

But the most important deficiency of these studies is the ice matrix itself,which does not fulfill the absolutely essential closed-system criterion.

This is because liquid water is present in ice even at very low temperatures, and because many chemical and physical processes occur, insitu, in ice sheets and in recovered ice cores.

Ice Core Data Show No Carbon Dioxide Increase – Zbigniew Jaworowski
21st Century – Spring 1997
http://www.21stcenturysciencetech.com/2006_articles/IceCoreSprg97.pdf

Diffusion is the net movement of molecules or atoms from a region of high concentration to a region of low concentration.

This is also referred to as the movement of a substance down a concentration gradient.

A gradient is the change in the value of a quantity (e.g., concentration, pressure, temperature) with the change in another variable (usually distance).

For example, a change in concentration over a distance is called a concentration gradient, a change in pressure over a distance is called a pressure gradient, and a change in temperature over a distance is a called a temperature gradient.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diffusion

The B20 ice core from northern Greenland, for example, clearly suggests some nitrate spikes have diffused to form broader areas with smoothed outlines.

B20 Diffusion

The Carrington Event Not Observed In Most Ice Core Nitrate Records
E W Wolff, M Bigler, M A J Curran, J E Dibb, M M Frey, M Legrand, J R McConnell
Geophysical Research Letters – Volume 39 – Issue 8 – April 2012
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2012GL051603/abstract

Unsurprisingly, Settled Science prefers to reject the solar proton connection and resolutely defends its turf by proclaiming all large spikes in the nitrate and ammonium record have the “unequivocal signal of biomass burning plumes”.

The Carrington Event of 1859 is considered to be among the largest space weather events of the last 150 years.

We show that only one out of 14 well-resolved ice core records from Greenland and Antarctica has a nitrate spike dated to 1859.

No sharp spikes are observed in the Antarctic cores studied here.

In Greenland numerous spikes are observed in the 40 years surrounding 1859, but where other chemistry was measured, all large spikes have the unequivocal signal, including co-located spikes in ammonium, formate, black carbon and vanillic acid, of biomass burning plumes.

The Carrington Event Not Observed In Most Ice Core Nitrate Records
E W Wolff, M Bigler, M A J Curran, J E Dibb, M M Frey, M Legrand, J R McConnell
Geophysical Research Letters – Volume 39 – Issue 8 – April 2012
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2012GL051603/abstract

Settled Science also prefers to overlook the low nitrate and ammonium traces found in Greenland ice cores during Maunder Minimum and the spikes associated with the 1908 Tunguska Event.

Instead, Settled Science limits the debate to a single issue, the Carrington Event, which they claim “did not leave an observable, widespread imprint in nitrate in polar ice”.

We conclude that an event as large as the Carrington Event did not leave an observable, widespread imprint in nitrate in polar ice.

Nitrate spikes cannot be used to derive the statistics of SEPs.

The Carrington Event Not Observed In Most Ice Core Nitrate Records
E W Wolff, M Bigler, M A J Curran, J E Dibb, M M Frey, M Legrand, J R McConnell
Geophysical Research Letters – Volume 39 – Issue 8 – April 2012
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2012GL051603/abstract

Settled Science has very weakly “asserted” that these spikes in the Greenland ice cores are associated with “biomass burning plumes” originating in North America.

However, even a casual observer would wonder why Settled Science has singularly failed to identify the necessary massive North American “biomass burning” events of 1859 and 1908.

Previously it has been asserted that sharp ammonium spikes in Greenland cores arise from the transport of biomass burning plumes, primarily from North America.

The Carrington Event Not Observed In Most Ice Core Nitrate Records
E W Wolff, M Bigler, M A J Curran, J E Dibb, M M Frey, M Legrand, J R McConnell
Geophysical Research Letters – Volume 39 – Issue 8 – April 2012
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2012GL051603/abstract

Following this northern hemisphere thread Settled Science refers to seven Greenland ice core chronologies which they use to illustrate the largely absent Carrington Event.

Greenland Cores

Two of these ice cores are from the northern Greenland and [unsurprisingly] display diminished solar proton signals.

Greenland Aurora

From this original list of seven Greenland ice cores Settled Science produces one remarkable graphic that directly compares five Greenland ice core chronologies.

Carrington Event not observed

Figure 3. Nitrate and ammonium concentrations in a range of Greenland ice cores for the period 1840-1880.
Nitrate is in blue (left axis), ammonium in red (right axis).
Note the different scales on the y-axis for each record.
The dashed vertical line marks the expected date of the proposed Carrington signal.

The Carrington Event Not Observed In Most Ice Core Nitrate Records
E W Wolff, M Bigler, M A J Curran, J E Dibb, M M Frey, M Legrand, J R McConnell
Geophysical Research Letters – Volume 39 – Issue 8 – April 2012
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2012GL051603/abstract

A visual scan of this graphic immediately reveals that none of these ice core chronologies are synchronised and none of these chronologies tell the same story.

Presumably, in the excitement of the moment, the mainstream overlooked the fact that this graphic highlights the inconsistencies in their data, methodologies and resulting chronologies.

Of the five ice cores in this graphic only the GISP H chronology suggests it may be correctly aligned in 1859 because its nitrate spike is authenticated by a real world event.

Therefore, instead of demonstrating the general absence of the Carrington Event in the Greenland ice core the mainstream has very successfully managed to demonstrate that their ice core chronologies are generally inconsistent and unreliable.

Perhaps the mainstream should simply let the data drive their chronologies.

Time Slide

Another remarkable feature of this five in one ice core graphic is the astonishing Zoe ice core which displays a diminished solar proton signal although it originates from exactly the same Summit location as the GISP H ice core.

The Zoe ice core is noteworthy because of its claimed accumulation rate of 22 centimetres of water equivalent per year whilst the GISP H ice core [from exactly the same location: Summit] is based upon a claimed accumulation rate of 25 centimetres of water equivalent per year.

Based upon this observation alone it is hardly surprising that the Zoe and GISP H chronologies are mismatched.

Furthermore, it appears that the “limitations on significant data resolution” in the Zoe and D4 ice cores means these chronologies probably mask Solar Proton Events.

The limitations on significant data resolution mean that the Zoe and D4 data sets cannot confidently detect or represent changes at frequencies greater than ~3 year-1, or on time scales of less than approximately 3-5 months.

The 36 year-1 (~10 day) average resolution that is obtainable, as indicated by the BU core, corresponds to a depth resolution < 1 cm water equivalent at Summit.

These findings also imply that ice core analysis of nitrate at a resolution such as Zoe and D4 probably could not discern the Carrington event as well.

Ice Core Resolution

Low time resolution analysis of polar ice cores cannot detect impulsive nitrate events
D.F. Smart, M.A. Shea, A. L. Melott, and C. M. Laird
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics 119, 9430-9440 (2014)
http://arxiv.org/pdf/1501.01204.pdf

Therefore, it can be argued, that when Settled Science rolls out its heavy artillery it has a nasty habit of shooting itself in the foot.

FOOTNOTE
Connoisseurs of Hockey Stick construction may like to savour the following technique that simply “circles” inconvenient “raw data points” so they can be “excluded from further analysis”.

Excluded Outliers

Sulfate and nitrate firn concentrations on the Greenland ice sheet
2. Temporal anthropogenic deposition changes
Hubertus Fischer, Dietmar Wagenbach and Joseph Kipfstuhl
Journal of Geophysical Research – Vol 103 No. D17 Pages 21,935-21,942, 20 Sept 1998
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/98JD01886/pdf

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5 Responses to Ammonium: 2 – The Aurora Ring

  1. This suggests the O2 isotope ratios to discern annual ‘layering’ in ice is also problematical? And the last graph is quite revealing for it characterises the intellectual approach many ‘scientists’ take when dealing with raw facts.

    From an exploration geology POV, those red-culled raw data points are more important than the background trend (in black), because those culled data are highly anomalous and invariably real.

    It’s the religious mind in operation – such minds see only what they believe, so these minds regard the anomalous data as errors.

    The scientific mind, on the other hand, sees those anomalous data points as highly significant; it’s that data that points to hidden mineral deposits, among other possibilities.

    So is settled science actually a technically sophisticated religion rather than ‘science’ per se?

    • malagabay says:

      This suggests the O2 isotope ratios to discern annual ‘layering’ in ice is also problematical?

      There are two big problem with ice layers:
      1) They can go missing [aka melt]
      2) Multiple layers can be laid down during the year [aka storms]

      The ice layers during the Little Ice Age are particularly suspect because [as per Piers Corbyn] the waves in the jet stream were larger and [consequentially] the weather was prone to extremes.

      Tree rings are not perfect but at least they don’t melt [as far as we know].

      So is settled science actually a technically sophisticated religion rather than ‘science’ per se?

      Settled Science displays the classic hallmarks of a religious belief system:

      bigotry, clergy [BA, BSc, MA, Phd], close minds, control [laws], cathedrals [universities], divine scriptures [Newton], dogmatism, devils [deniers], excommunication [de-funding], intolerance, indoctrination [education], scaremongering…

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