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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2018-46
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 07 May 2018

Research article | 07 May 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Climate of the Past (CP).

Burning-derived vanillic acid in an Arctic ice core from Tunu, Northeastern Greenland

Mackenzie M. Grieman1, Murat Aydin1, Joseph R. McConnell2, and Eric S. Saltzman1 Mackenzie M. Grieman et al.
  • 1Department of Earth System Science, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, California, 92697-3100, USA
  • 2Division of Hydrologic Sciences, Desert Research Institute, Reno, Nevada, USA

Abstract. In this study, vanillic acid was measured in the Tunu ice core from northeastern Greenland in samples covering the past 1700 years. Vanillic acid is an aerosol-borne aromatic methoxy acid, produced by the combustion of lignin during biomass burning. Air mass trajectory analysis indicates that North American boreal forests are likely the major source region for biomass burning aerosols deposited to the ice core site. Vanillic acid levels in the Tunu ice core range from <0.005–0.08ppb. Tunu vanillic acid exhibits centennial-scale variability in preindustrial ice, with elevated levels during the warm climates of the Roman Warm Period and Medieval Climate Anomaly, and lower levels during the cooler climates of the Late Antiquity Little Ice Age and the Little Ice Age. Analysis using a peak detection method revealed a positive correlation between vanillic acid in the Tunu ice core and both ammonium and black carbon in the north Greenland NEEM ice core. This is encouraging evidence that a consistent pattern of centennial-scale variability in North American high latitude fire may be recorded by various fire proxies in Greenland ice.

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Short summary
Vanillic acid is reported in the Tunu ice core from northeastern Greenland. It is an aerosol-borne acid produced by biomass burning. North American boreal forests are likely the source regions of the vanillic acid deposited at the ice core site. Vanillic acid levels were elevated during warm climate periods and lower during cooler climate periods. There is a positive correlation between the vanillic acid ice core record and ammonium and black carbon in the NEEM ice core from northern Greenland.
Vanillic acid is reported in the Tunu ice core from northeastern Greenland. It is an...
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