University of Oulu

Ari-Pekka Leppänen, Stepan Poluianov, The impact of different atmospheric phenomena to cosmogenic Na/⁷Be ratio, Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, Volume 236, 2022, 105918, ISSN 1364-6826,

The impact of different atmospheric phenomena to cosmogenic ²² Na/⁷Be ratio

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Author: Leppänen, Ari-Pekka1; Poluianov, Stepan2,3
Organizations: 1Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority - STUK, Lähteentie 2, 96400, Rovaniemi, Finland
2Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory, PO Box 3000, University of Oulu, Finland
3Space Physics and Astronomy Research Unit, PO Box 3000, University of Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 10.6 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-07-01


The isotopic ratio of two cosmogenic isotopes, ²²Na and ⁷Be, has been recognized as a possible tracer for atmospheric dynamics. We studied how different atmospheric phenomena affect the ²²Na/⁷Be ratio that are known to affect the ground level ⁷Be concentrations. The ²²Na/7Be ratio was studied in the following context: estimation of aerosol residence time, in the intrusions of stratospheric air after Sudden Stratospheric Warming (SSW) events, seasonal variations due to different atmospheric mixing conditions and finally the interannual variations caused by the large-scale atmospheric circulation such as North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), Arctic Oscillation (AO), Scandinavian Pattern (SCAND) and Quasi-Biennial Oscillation (QBO). This study utilized airborne radioactivity monitoring data from three Finnish stations located in Rovaniemi (66.51 °N, 25.73 °E), Kajaani (64.08 °N, 27.71 °E) and Kotka (60.48 °N, 26.92 °E). The theoretical calculations were performed to see how the ²²Na/⁷Be ratio changes as a function of altitude during when produced by the galactic cosmic rays. The calculations showed that the ²²Na/⁷Be ratio is higher in the stratosphere and lower in the troposphere. At mid-stratosphere level the ratio was 0.001, at tropopause level approximately 0.0007 and at ground level approximately 0.00045. Due to the different half-lives of 22Na and ⁷Be the mean atmospheric residence time can be estimefrom the radioactive decay law by assuming an initial activity concentration ratio of 0.0007 and using the measured ground level ²²Na/⁷Be ratios. This resulted in the median atmospheric residence time as 91–95 days. The atmospheric impact on ²²Na/⁷Be ratio was studied at different time scales starting from short-term impact from SSW, the known seasonal cycle and variations at interannual timescale. SSW events caused rapid increases in the ground level ⁷Be and ²²Na concentrations while the impact on ²²Na/⁷Be ratio was relatively small. A clear seasonal cycle in the ²²Na/⁷Be ratio was observed where the ²²Na/⁷Be ratio was at low value during November–February, increased during March–May, stayed at stable high value during June–July and steadily decreased during August–October. The long-term average for ²²Na/7Be ratio was established to be 1.1 × 10⁻⁴ by using the Kotka data from 1993 to 2020. During 1995–2009, the ²²Na/⁷Be ratio was below the long-term average, and during 2010–2020, generally above. The interannual variations in the ²²Na/⁷Be ratio were studied by using wavelet transform analysis of the Kotka data. The analysis showed 4–6-year and 11-year periodicities. The wavelet coherence analyses with AO, NAO, SCAND, QBO and Southern Oscillation (SO) indices showed that the shorter periodicity was caused by the NAO/AO effects the atmospheric circulation in Scandinavia and hence the transport of the isotopes from upper atmosphere to ground level. The observed coherence with the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) starting from 2012 onwards appeared at an approximately 3–4 year scale while the AO and NAO had a coherence at an approximately 6-year scale. The observed 11-year periodicity was caused by the Solar cycle which modulates the ⁷Be and ²²Na production in the upper atmosphere.

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Series: Journal of atmospheric and solar-terrestrial physics
ISSN: 1364-6826
ISSN-E: 1879-1824
ISSN-L: 1364-6826
Volume: 236
Article number: 105918
DOI: 10.1016/j.jastp.2022.105918
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1172 Environmental sciences
Funding: SP acknowledges the support from the Academy of Finland (project 321882 ESPERA).
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 321882
Detailed Information: 321882 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (