Journal cover Journal topic
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 2307-2328, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
15 Feb 2018
Multi-model comparison of the volcanic sulfate deposition from the 1815 eruption of Mt. Tambora
Lauren Marshall1, Anja Schmidt1,a, Matthew Toohey2,3, Ken S. Carslaw1, Graham W. Mann1,4, Michael Sigl5, Myriam Khodri6, Claudia Timmreck3, Davide Zanchettin7, William T. Ball8,9, Slimane Bekki10, James S. A. Brooke11, Sandip Dhomse1, Colin Johnson12, Jean-Francois Lamarque13, Allegra N. LeGrande14,15, Michael J. Mills13, Ulrike Niemeier3, James O. Pope16, Virginie Poulain6, Alan Robock17, Eugene Rozanov8,9, Andrea Stenke8, Timofei Sukhodolov9, Simone Tilmes13, Kostas Tsigaridis15,14, and Fiona Tummon8,b 1Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, UK
2GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Kiel, Germany
3Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany
4National Centre for Atmospheric Science, University of Leeds, UK
5Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry, Paul Scherrer Institut, 5232 Villigen, Switzerland
6Laboratoire d'Océanographie et du Climat: Expérimentations et Approches Numériques, Sorbonne Universités, UPMC, IPSL, UMR CNRS/IRD/MNHN, 75005 Paris, France
7Department of Environmental Sciences, Informatics and Statistics, University Ca' Foscari of Venice, Mestre, Italy
8Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
9PMOD/WRC, Davos, Switzerland
10LATMOS-IPSL, UPMC/Paris-Sorbonne, UVSQ/Paris Saclay, CNRS/INSU, Paris, France
11School of Chemistry, University of Leeds, UK
12Met Office Hadley Centre, Exeter, UK
13Atmospheric Chemistry Observations and Modeling Laboratory, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, USA
14NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, NY, USA
15Center for Climate Systems Research, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA
16British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK
17Department of Environmental Sciences, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, USA
anow at: Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge, UK and Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, UK
bnow at: Faculty of Biosciences, Fisheries, and Economics, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway
Abstract. The eruption of Mt. Tambora in 1815 was the largest volcanic eruption of the past 500 years. The eruption had significant climatic impacts, leading to the 1816 year without a summer, and remains a valuable event from which to understand the climatic effects of large stratospheric volcanic sulfur dioxide injections. The eruption also resulted in one of the strongest and most easily identifiable volcanic sulfate signals in polar ice cores, which are widely used to reconstruct the timing and atmospheric sulfate loading of past eruptions. As part of the Model Intercomparison Project on the climatic response to Volcanic forcing (VolMIP), five state-of-the-art global aerosol models simulated this eruption. We analyse both simulated background (no Tambora) and volcanic (with Tambora) sulfate deposition to polar regions and compare to ice core records. The models simulate overall similar patterns of background sulfate deposition, although there are differences in regional details and magnitude. However, the volcanic sulfate deposition varies considerably between the models with differences in timing, spatial pattern and magnitude. Mean simulated deposited sulfate on Antarctica ranges from 19 to 264 kg km−2 and on Greenland from 31 to 194 kg km−2, as compared to the mean ice-core-derived estimates of roughly 50 kg km−2 for both Greenland and Antarctica. The ratio of the hemispheric atmospheric sulfate aerosol burden after the eruption to the average ice sheet deposited sulfate varies between models by up to a factor of 15. Sources of this inter-model variability include differences in both the formation and the transport of sulfate aerosol. Our results suggest that deriving relationships between sulfate deposited on ice sheets and atmospheric sulfate burdens from model simulations may be associated with greater uncertainties than previously thought.
Citation: Marshall, L., Schmidt, A., Toohey, M., Carslaw, K. S., Mann, G. W., Sigl, M., Khodri, M., Timmreck, C., Zanchettin, D., Ball, W. T., Bekki, S., Brooke, J. S. A., Dhomse, S., Johnson, C., Lamarque, J.-F., LeGrande, A. N., Mills, M. J., Niemeier, U., Pope, J. O., Poulain, V., Robock, A., Rozanov, E., Stenke, A., Sukhodolov, T., Tilmes, S., Tsigaridis, K., and Tummon, F.: Multi-model comparison of the volcanic sulfate deposition from the 1815 eruption of Mt. Tambora, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 2307-2328,, 2018.
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
We use four global aerosol models to compare the simulated sulfate deposition from the 1815 Mt. Tambora eruption to ice core records. Inter-model volcanic sulfate deposition differs considerably. Volcanic sulfate deposited on polar ice sheets is used to estimate the atmospheric sulfate burden and subsequently radiative forcing of historic eruptions. Our results suggest that deriving such relationships from model simulations may be associated with greater uncertainties than previously thought.
We use four global aerosol models to compare the simulated sulfate deposition from the 1815 Mt....