Thursday, July 26, 2012

1207.5932 (I. G. Usoskin et al.)

Occurrence of extreme solar particle events: Assessment from historical proxy data    [PDF]

I. G. Usoskin, G. A. Kovaltsov
The probability of occurrence of extreme solar particle events (SPEs) with the fluence of (>30 MeV) protons F30>10^{10} cm^{-2} is evaluated based on data of cosmogenic isotopes 14C and 10Be in terrestrial archives centennial-millennial time scales. Four potential candidates with F30=(1-1.5)x10^{10} cm^{-2} and no events with F30>2x10^{10} cm^{-2} are identified since 1400 AD in the annually resolved 10Be data. A strong SPE related to the Carrington flare of 1859 AD is not supported by the data. For the last 11400 years, 19 SPE candidates with F30=(1-3)x10^{10} cm^{-2} are found and clearly no event with F30>5x10^{10} cm^{-2} (50-fold the SPE of 23-Feb-1956) occurring. This values serve as an observational upper limit for the strength of SPE on the time scale of tens of millennia. Two events, ca. 780 and 1460 AD, appear in different data series making them strong candidates to extreme SPEs. We built a distribution of the occurrence probability of extreme SPEs, providing a new strict observational constraint. Practical limits can be set as F30~1x, 2-3x, and 5x10^{10} cm^{-2} for the occurrence probability ~10^{-2}, 10^{-3} and 10^{-4} year^{-1}, respectively. Because of uncertainties, our results should be interpreted as a conservative upper limit of the SPE occurrence near Earth. The mean SEP flux is evaluated as ~40 (cm2 sec)^{-1} in agreement with estimates from the lunar rocks. On average, extreme SPEs contribute about 10% to the total SEP fluence.
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