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One of the strongest known solar storms blasted Earth in 660 B.C.

A study of ancient ice cores and tree rings reveals that a powerful burst of high-energy protons from the Sun hit Earth about 2,700 years ago.

Explosive events in the Sun such as solar flares or coronal mass ejections sometimes send bursts of highly energetic particles towards Earth, posing a threat to satellites, communications systems and aircraft. While modern detectors have measured various small solar bursts since the 1950s, larger events from the past must be inferred by examining natural records, such as ice cores and tree rings. Specifically, these records show increased levels of radionuclides that are produced by the impacts of solar particles.


In a paper entitled, Atmospheric impacts of the strongest known solar particle storm of 775 AD, appearing in the March 28, 2017, issue of Scientific Reports, the contributing authors from the Davos World Radiation Center, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, University of Oulu, Australian Antarctic Division, Universtiy of Tasmania, University of Bern, Ioffe Physical-Technical Institute, Nagoya University and University of Florence, describe the evidence for a solar energy particle (SEP) event of such magnitude that it caused an enormous spike in radioactive Carbon 14 captured in tree rings, changes to ice core composition collected at both poles, and profound impacts on Earth’s ozone layer for two years.
How can a SEP event affect atmospheric chemistry? And what does that mean for the people, animals, and plants at the time of the event?
Theoretically, SEP events should cause ionization of nitrogen and oxygen. The researchers looked for evidence of nitrate spikes in the polar ice but didn’t find any. But what they did find is evidence of changes in weather as recorded from historical records of the time. Modeling of the impact on the ozone layer suggested there should be evidence of changes to mean average temperatures in the northern hemisphere, a decline by as much as 4 Celsius (7.2 Fahrenheit) degrees. This could have produced polar vortices of unusual duration over Europe, Siberia, and Canada. Could this have affected spring plantings and harvests in these areas after the SEP event? Could the defeat of the Lombards have been a consequence of a climate changing event of short duration?
The authors of the paper describe a similar extreme SEP event from 993 to 994 AD. Fluctuations in Carbon 14 similar to that in 774 to 775 confirm the likelihood of a large solar proton or short gamma-ray burst emanating from the sun during that period. Historical references describe significant red auroras seen in Korea, Germany nad Ireland during 993. And further confirmation of a SEP at that time is evident in the atmospheric chemistry of ice cores.
Since those two events, we haven’t had anything similar of the same magnitude. In 1859, a recorded solar flare disrupted telegraph service around the globe. This is the only known SEP event to strike Earth during industrial times. Witnesses at the time described significant auroras in the Rocky Mountains, so bright that campers woke up thinking it was morning.

Cite: https://www.21stcentech.com/charlemagne-...lar-storm/

In this latest research, Muscheler and colleagues looked for evidence of intense solar storms in two ice cores taken from the Greenland ice sheet. When solar protons collide with molecules in the atmosphere, cosmogenic nuclei such as beryllium-10 and carbon-14 are produced. These isotopes become trapped in the ice sheet and measurements of their abundances can be used to calculate the intensity of solar protons in the atmosphere at the time of deposition.
Oak tree rings
In 2017, some of the team members discovered a peak of carbon-14 at about 660 BC in oak tree rings. Similar peaks are associated with intense solar storms believed to have occurred more recently in the years 775 and 994. However, the carbon-14 peak at 660 BC is not as distinct as peaks associated with the later events and could be the result of an increase in cosmic rays entering the atmosphere rather than solar protons.
To clarify the situation, Muscheler and colleagues looked at beryllium-10 abundance in ice cores and found peaks at around 660 BC in ice from both the North Greenland Ice Core Project (NGRIP) and the Greenland Ice Core Project (GRIP). A peak in the abundance of chlorine-36 – another isotope produced by solar protons – was also spotted in the GRIP data.

According to the team, the storm in 660 BC was comparable to the 775 event, which is the strongest solar storm known to date. Furthermore, the ancient storm was ten times more intense than any solar storm that has occurred over the past 70 years – including storms that have disrupted electricity grids and telecommunications.
Although such storms are rare, the discovery of a third event suggests that they could be much more common than previously thought. Muscheler believes that there should be a reassessment of the threat and calls for a greater awareness of how vulnerable society is to disruption by solar storms.
The research is described in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Cite: https://physicsworld.com/a/ice-cores-rev...nd-660-bc/
Full Throttle, WNC  likes this!
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Take special note of the last paragraph of this article.

We could be back in the stone age in a moment.
sivil, WNC  likes this!
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