1859 solar flare, ozone depletion studied

Mar 22, 2007

U.S. scientists believe an 1859 solar flare destroyed more of the Earth's ozone than did a 1989 solar flare -- the strongest ever monitored by satellite.

Researchers led by Brian Charles Thomas of Washburn University used data on nitrate enhancements from Greenland ice cores to determine the September 1859 solar proton event released 6.5 times more energy than did the 1989 event.

Models using that energy release showed 3.5 times more ozone was destroyed during the 1859 episode than in 1989. And since ozone regulates the amount of harmful ultraviolet radiation reaching Earth, the researchers said understanding intense solar proton events will be important in predicting potential damage to the biosphere.

The study by Thomas, Charles Jackbon of the Goddard Space Flight Center, and Adrian Melott of the University of Kansas appears in the current issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: Historic climate data provided by Mediterranean seabed sediments

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

New detector sniffs out origins of methane

14 hours ago

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, second only to carbon dioxide in its capacity to trap heat in Earth's atmosphere for a long time. The gas can originate from lakes and swamps, natural-gas pipelines, deep-sea ...

The tides they are a changin'

19 hours ago

Scientists from the University of Southampton have found that ocean tides have changed significantly over the last century at many coastal locations around the world.

Lightning plus volcanic ash make glass

Mar 03, 2015

In their open-access paper for Geology, Kimberly Genareau and colleagues propose, for the first time, a mechanism for the generation of glass spherules in geologic deposits through the occurrence of volcan ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.