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Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2017-121
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
04 Oct 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Climate of the Past (CP).
Methoxy aromatic acids in an Arctic ice core from Svalbard: a proxy record of biomass burning
Mackenzie M. Grieman1, Murat Aydin1, Elisabeth Isaksson2, Margit Schwikowski3, and Eric S. Saltzman1 1Department of Earth System Science, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, California, 92697-3100, USA
2Norwegian Polar Institute Fram Centre 9296, Tromsø, Norway
3Paul Scherrer Institute, Villigen, Switzerland and Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Bern, Switzerland
Abstract. This study presents vanillic acid and para-hydroxybenzoic acid levels in an Arctic ice core from Lomonosovfonna, Svalbard covering the past 800 years. These methoxy aromatic acids are likely derived from lignin combustion in wildfires and long-range aerosol transport. Vanillic and para-hydroxybenzoic acid are present throughout the ice core, confirming that these compounds are preserved on millennial time scales. Vanillic and para-hydroxybenzoic acid concentrations in the Lomonosovfonna ice core ranged from below the limits of detection to 0.2 and 0.07 ppb, respectively (1 ppb = 1000 ng/l). Vanillic acid levels are high (below the limit of detection to 0.1 ppb) from 1200–1400 CE, then gradually decline into the 20th century. The largest peak in the vanillic acid in the record occurs from 2000–2008 CE. In the para-hydrobenzoic acid record, there are three centennial-scale peaks around 1300, 1550, and 1650 CE superimposed on a long-term decline in the baseline levels throughout the record. Air mass back trajectory analysis indicates that Siberia and Europe are the primary source regions for wildfire emissions reaching the Lomonosovfonna site. The Lomonosovfonna data are similar to those from the Eurasian Arctic Akademii Nauk ice core during the early part of the record (1220–1400 CE), but the two ice cores diverge markedly after 1400 CE. This coincides with a shift in North Atlantic climate marked by a change of the North Atlantic Oscillation from a positive to a more negative state.

Citation: Grieman, M. M., Aydin, M., Isaksson, E., Schwikowski, M., and Saltzman, E. S.: Methoxy aromatic acids in an Arctic ice core from Svalbard: a proxy record of biomass burning, Clim. Past Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2017-121, in review, 2017.
Mackenzie M. Grieman et al.
Mackenzie M. Grieman et al.
Mackenzie M. Grieman et al.

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Short summary
This study presents organic acid levels in an ice core from Svalbard over the past 800 years. These acids are produced from wildfire emissions and transported as aerosol. Organic acid levels are high early in the record and decline until the 20th century. Siberia and Europe are likely the primary source regions of the fire emissions. The data are similar to those from a Siberian ice core prior to 1400 CE. The timing of the divergence after 1400 CE is similar to a shift in North Atlantic climate.
This study presents organic acid levels in an ice core from Svalbard over the past 800 years....
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