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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-139
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-139
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 06 Mar 2019

Research article | 06 Mar 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Ice core records of biomass burning tracers (levoglucosan, dehydroabietic and vanillic acids) from Aurora Peak in Alaska since 1660s: A new dimension of forest fire activities in the Northern Hemisphere

Ambarish Pokhrel1,2, Kimitaka Kawamura1,a, Kaori Ono1, Akane Tsushima1, Osamu Seki1, Sumio Matoba1, Takayuki Shiraiwa1, and Bhagawati Kunwara Ambarish Pokhrel et al.
  • 1Institute of Low Temperature Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan
  • 2Asian Research Center, Kathmandu, Nepal
  • anow at: Chubu Institute for Advanced Studies, Chubu University, Kasugai, Japan

Abstract. A 180 m long (ca. 274 years) ice core was drilled in the saddle of the Aurora Peak of Alaska (63.52° N; 146.54° W, elevation: 2825 m). The ice core samples were melt, concentrated and then derivatized with N,O-bis-(trimethylsilyl) trifluoroacetamide with 1 % trimethylsilyl chloride and pyridine followed by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry analyses. Levoglucosan, dehydroabietic acid, and vanillic acid are reported for the first time from the alpine glacier to better understand historical biomass burning activities in the source region of southern Alaska. These organic compounds showed higher concentrations with many sporadic peaks in the 1660s–1830s, 1913, and 2005. Moreover, there are few discrepancies of higher spikes among them after the 1970s with sporadic peaks in 1994–2007 for dehydroabietic acid. Historical trends of levoglucosan, dehydroabietic and vanillic acid showed that biomass burning activities from resin and lignin in boreal conifer trees, other higher plants and grasses were significant before the 1840s and after the 1970s in the source regions of southern Alaska, being different from previous ice core studies. Long-range atmospheric transport could be important for levoglucosan compared to dehydroabietic acid in the North Pacific Rim (NPR). We found weak or no correlations of levoglucosan with NO2 (r = 0.06), NO3 (0.04), nss-SO42− (0.08), nss-K+ (0.11), and NH4+ (0.11) from the same ice core, suggesting that these anions and cations do not represent a gleaming signal of biomass burning activities in the source regions for southern Alaska. Hence, this study revels a new dimension of biomass burning periodic cycles in the NPR.

Ambarish Pokhrel et al.
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Ambarish Pokhrel et al.
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Short summary
A 180 m long (ca. 274 years) ice core was drilled in the saddle of the Aurora Peak of Alaska (63.52° N; 146.54° W, elevation: 2825 m). The ice core samples were derivatized with N,O-bis-(trimethylsilyl) trifluoroacetamide with 1 % trimethylsilyl chloride and pyridine followed by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry analyses. Levoglucosan, dehydroabietic acid, and vanillic acid are reported for the first time from the alpine glacier to better understand historical biomass burnings.
A 180 m long (ca. 274 years) ice core was drilled in the saddle of the Aurora Peak of Alaska...
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