National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Living With A Star

Targeted Research and Technology

Historical Evidence for Major Solar-Terrestrial Outbursts for the past 150 Years from the Analysis of Nitrate Data in Polar Ice Cores

ROSES ID: NRA-00-OSS-01      Selection Year: 2001      

Program Element: Independent Investigation: LWS

Principal Investigator: Margaret Ann Shea

Affiliation(s): University of Alabama, Huntsville


The objective is to ascertain from historical data the probability of major solar-terrestrial events that had a significant proton flux for the past 150 years. Our most recent analysis supports the supposition that major solar proton fluence events (those with >30 MeV omni-directional fluence exceeding 109 cm-2) generate sufficient NOy in the upper atmosphere so that when the polar vortex is operating the resultant NOy is deposited in the polar snows. Magnetic records exist indicating major solar-terrestrial activity for the past 150 years. We propose to analyze the nitrate records to compare the NOy deposition in the years when major magnetic storms have occurred against the nitrate record in polar snows deposited within a few months of each event. The results of this study are appropriate to three of the four LWS NASA Strategic Enterprises.


Performance YearReferenceInvestigation TypeActions
1McCracken, K. G.; Dreschhoff, G. A. M.; Zeller, E. ...
not set
1Shea, M. A.; Smart, D. F.; (2004), The Use of Geophysic...
not set


Performance YearReferenceActions
1Shea, M. A.; Smart, D. F.; (2004), Ice Cores, Historic ...

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