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https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-480
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-480
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  18 Jun 2020

18 Jun 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Evidence for the predictability of changes in the stratospheric aerosol size following volcanic eruptions of diverse magnitudes using space-based instruments

Larry W. Thomason1, Mahesh Kovilakam2, Anja Schmidt3,4, Christian von Savigny5, Travis Knepp1, and Landon Rieger6 Larry W. Thomason et al.
  • 1NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia 23681 USA
  • 2SSAI, Hampton, Virginia, USA
  • 3Department of Chemistry, Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK
  • 4Department of Geography, Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK
  • 5Institute of Physics,University of Greifswald, Greifswald, Germany
  • 6University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Abstract. An analysis of multiwavelength stratospheric aerosol extinction coefficient data from the Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment II and III/ISS instruments is used to demonstrate a coherent relationship between the perturbation in extinction coefficient in an eruption's main aerosol layer and an apparent change in aerosol size distribution that spans multiple orders of magnitude in the stratospheric impact of a volcanic event. The relationship is measurement-based and does not rely on assumptions about the aerosol size distribution. We note limitations on this analysis including that the presence of significant amounts of ash in the main aerosol layer may significantly modulate these results. Despite this limitation, these findings represent a unique opportunity to verify the performance of interactive aerosol models used in Global Climate Models and Earth System Model and may suggest an avenue for improving aerosol extinction coefficient measurements from single channel observations such the Optical Spectrograph and Infrared Imager System as they rely on a priori assumptions about particle size.

Larry W. Thomason et al.

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Larry W. Thomason et al.

Larry W. Thomason et al.

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Latest update: 29 Sep 2020
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Short summary
Measurements by space-based instruments of the impact of volcanic eruptions on stratospheric aerosol loading show show a fairly well-behaved relationship between the magnitude and the apparent changes to aerosol size over several orders of magnitude. This directly measured relationship provides a unique opportunity to verify the performance of interactive aerosol models used in climate models.
Measurements by space-based instruments of the impact of volcanic eruptions on stratospheric...
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