Articles | Volume 23, issue 3
30 Mar 2005
 | 30 Mar 2005

Cosmic ray-induced stratospheric aerosols: A possible connection to polar ozone depletions

E. A. Kasatkina and O. I. Shumilov

Abstract. The model calculations of altitude distribution of CN (condensation nuclei), plausible centers of sulfate aerosol formation after the occurrence of GLE, are presented. Events with relativistic solar protons (i.e. protons with energies >450MeV) are observed at ground level by neutron monitors and called ground-level events (GLEs) (Shea and Smart, 2001). Analysis of experimental data and model calculations permits us to explain some distinctions observed in ozone total content (OTC) variations during several GLEs. For example, model simulations show a significant CN concentration enhancement during the May 1990 GLEs of relatively "moderate" magnitude, when polar ozone "mini-holes" (OTC depletions up to 20%) have been observed, while no OTC variations and considerable aerosol enhancements were seen during more powerful GLEs (4 August 1972, 2 May 1998, 14 July 2000) (Reagan et al., 1981; Shumilov et al., 1995, 2003). Our results demonstrate that "moderate" GLEs may increase aerosol content significantly and cause ozone "mini-hole" creation.