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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 18, issue 15 | Copyright
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 11149-11169, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 10 Aug 2018

Research article | 10 Aug 2018

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

Johan Friberg1, Bengt G. Martinsson1, Sandra M. Andersson1,a, and Oscar S. Sandvik1 Johan Friberg et al.
  • 1Division of Nuclear Physics, Lund University, Lund, 22100, Sweden
  • anow at: Core service, information and statistics, Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, Norrköping, Sweden

Abstract. 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 1.5PVU 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 195K. 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 20km 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 −0.2Wm−2, respectively.

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During 2006–2015 volcanism contributed 40 % of the stratospheric aerosol load. We compute the AOD (aerosol optical depth) of the stratosphere (from the tropopause to 35 km altitude) using new techniques of handling CALIOP data. Regional and global AODs are presented for the entire stratosphere in relation to transport patterns, and the AOD is presented for three stratospheric layers: the LMS, the potential temperature range of 380 to 470 K, and altitudes above the 470 K isentrope.
During 2006–2015 volcanism contributed 40 % of the stratospheric aerosol load. We compute the...