Volcanic impact on the climate - The stratospheric aerosol load in the period 2006-2015

Johan Friberg, Bengt G. Martinsson, Sandra M. Andersson, Oscar S. Sandvik

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We present a study on the stratospheric aerosol load during 2006-2015, discuss the influence from volcanism and other sources, and reconstruct an aerosol optical depth (AOD) data set in a resolution of 1° latitudinally and 8 days timewise. The purpose is to include the "entire" stratosphere, from the tropopause to the almost particle-free altitudes of the midstratosphere. A dynamic tropopause of 1.5 PVU was used, since it enclosed almost all of the volcanic signals in the CALIOP data set. The data were successfully cleaned from polar stratospheric clouds using a temperature threshold of 195 K. Furthermore, a method was developed to correct data when the CALIOP laser beam was strongly attenuated by volcanic aerosol, preventing a negative bias in the AOD data set. Tropospheric influence, likely from upwelling dust, was found in the extratropical transition layer in spring. Eruptions of both extratropical and tropical volcanoes that injected aerosol into the stratosphere impacted the stratospheric aerosol load for up to a year if their clouds reached lower than 20 km altitude. Deeper-reaching tropical injections rose in the tropical pipe and impacted it for several years. Our AODs mostly compare well to other long-term studies of the stratospheric AOD. Over the years 2006-2015, volcanic eruptions increased the stratospheric AOD on average by ∼ 40 %. In absolute numbers the stratospheric AOD and radiative forcing amounted to 0.008 and -0.2 W m-2, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11149-11169
Number of pages21
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Aug 10

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Climate Research
  • Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences


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