Articles | Volume 7, issue 15
02 Aug 2007
02 Aug 2007

Atmospheric effects of volcanic eruptions as seen by famous artists and depicted in their paintings

C. S. Zerefos, V. T. Gerogiannis, D. Balis, S. C. Zerefos, and A. Kazantzidis

Abstract. Paintings created by famous artists, representing sunsets throughout the period 1500–1900, provide proxy information on the aerosol optical depth following major volcanic eruptions. This is supported by a statistically significant correlation coefficient (0.8) between the measured red-to-green ratios of a few hundred paintings and the dust veil index. A radiative transfer model was used to compile an independent time series of aerosol optical depth at 550 nm corresponding to Northern Hemisphere middle latitudes during the period 1500–1900. The estimated aerosol optical depths range from 0.05 for background aerosol conditions, to about 0.6 following the Tambora and Krakatau eruptions and cover a period practically outside of the instrumentation era.

Final-revised paper