eCite Digital Repository

Comment on “Low time resolution analysis of polar ice cores cannot detect impulsive nitrate events” by D.F. Smart et al


Wolff, EW and Bigler, M and Curran, MAJ and Dibb, JE and Frey, MM and Legrand, M and McConnell, JR, Comment on 'Low time resolution analysis of polar ice cores cannot detect impulsive nitrate events' by D.F. Smart et al, Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 121, (3) pp. 1920-1924. ISSN 2169-9380 (2016) [Letter or Note in Journal]

Pending copyright assessment - Request a copy

DOI: doi:10.1002/2015JA021570


Smart et al. (2014) suggested that the detection of nitrate spikes in polar ice cores from solar energetic particle (SEP) events could be achieved if an analytical system with sufficiently high resolution was used. Here we show that the spikes they associate with SEP events are not reliably recorded in cores from the same location, even when the resolution is clearly adequate. We explain the processes that limit the effective resolution of ice cores. Liquid conductivity data suggest that the observed spikes are associated with sodium or another nonacidic cation, making it likely that they result from deposition of sea salt or similar aerosol that has scavenged nitrate, rather than from a primary input of nitrate in the troposphere. We consider that there is no evidence at present to support the identification of any spikes in nitrate as representing SEP events. Although such events undoubtedly create nitrate in the atmosphere, we see no plausible route to using nitrate spikes to document the statistics of such events.

Item Details

Item Type:Letter or Note in Journal
Keywords:comment, low time resolution analysis, polar ice cores, impulsive nitrate events, response
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Physical geography and environmental geoscience
Research Field:Glaciology
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the earth sciences
UTAS Author:Curran, MAJ (Dr Mark Curran)
ID Code:118269
Year Published:2016
Web of Science® Times Cited:10
Deposited By:CRC-Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems
Deposited On:2017-07-07
Last Modified:2017-07-07

Repository Staff Only: item control page