Evidence of New Particle Formation Within Etna and Stromboli Volcanic Plumes and Its Parameterization From Airborne In Situ Measurements

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Volcanic emissions can significantly affect the Earth's radiation budget by emitting aerosol particles and gas-phase species that can result in the new particle formation (NPF). These particles can scatter solar radiation or modify cloud properties, with consequences on health, weather, and climate. To our knowledge, this is the first dedicated study detailing how gas-phase precursors emitted from volcanic plumes can influence the NPF. A series of airborne measurements were performed around the Etna and Stromboli volcanoes within the framework of the CLerVolc and STRAP projects. The ATR-42 aircraft was equipped with a range of instrumentation allowing the measurement of particle number concentration in diameter range above 2.5 nm and gaseous species to investigate the aerosol dynamics and the processes governing the NPF and their growth within the volcanic plumes. We demonstrate that NPF occurs within the volcanic plumes in the free troposphere (FT) and boundary layer (BL). Typically, the NPF events were more pronounced in the FT, where the condensational sink was up to two orders of magnitude smaller and the temperature was ~20 °C lower than in the BL. Within the passive volcanic plume, the concentration of sulfur dioxide, sulfuric acid, and N2.5 were as high as 92 ppbV, 5.65 × 108 and 2.4 × 105 cm−3, respectively. Using these measurements, we propose a new parameterization for NPF rate (J2.5) within the passive volcanic plume in the FT. These results can be incorporated into mesoscale models to better assess the impact of the particle formed by natural processes, that is, volcanic plumes, on climate.


  • Maher Sahyoun
  • Evelyn Freney
  • Joel Brito
  • Jonathan Duplissy
  • Mathieu Gouhier
  • Aurélie Colomb
  • Regis Dupuy
  • Thierry Bourianne
  • John B. Nowak
  • Chao Yan
  • Tuukka Petäjä
  • Markku Kulmala
  • Alfons Schwarzenboeck
  • Céline Planche
  • Karine Sellegri
External organisations
  • University of Auvergne
  • University of Lille
  • Helsinki University of Technology
  • Centre National de Recherches Météorologiques, Meteo-France
  • NASA Langley Research Center
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Environmental Sciences
  • Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences


  • aerosol formation rate parameterization, Etna and Stromboli, new particle formation, sulfuric acid, volcanic plume, volcanic secondary aerosols
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5650-5668
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2019 May 27
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes