The impact of volcanic eruptions of different magnitude on stratospheric water vapor in the tropics.

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From: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics(Vol. 21, Issue 8)
Publisher: Copernicus GmbH
Document Type: Brief article
Length: 396 words

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Abstract :

Increasing the temperature of the tropical cold-point region through heating by volcanic aerosols results in increases in the entry value of stratospheric water vapor (SWV) and subsequent changes in the atmospheric energy budget. We analyze tropical volcanic eruptions of different strengths with sulfur (S) injections ranging from 2.5 Tg S up to 40 Tg S using EVAens, the 100-member ensemble of the Max Planck Institute - Earth System Model in its low-resolution configuration (MPI-ESM-LR) with artificial volcanic forcing generated by the Easy Volcanic Aerosol (EVA) tool. Significant increases in SWV are found for the mean over all ensemble members from 2.5 Tg S onward ranging between [5, 160] %. However, for single ensemble members, the standard deviation between the control run members (0 Tg S) is larger than SWV increase of single ensemble members for eruption strengths up to 20 Tg S. A historical simulation using observation-based forcing files of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption, which was estimated to have emitted (7.5±2.5) Tg S, returns SWV increases slightly higher than the 10 Tg S EVAens simulations due to differences in the aerosol profile shape. An additional amplification of the tape recorder signal is also apparent, which is not present in the 10 Tg S run. These differences underline that it is not only the eruption volume but also the aerosol layer shape and location with respect to the cold point that have to be considered for post-eruption SWV increases. The additional tropical clear-sky SWV forcing for the different eruption strengths amounts to [0.02, 0.65] W m.sup.-2, ranging between [2.5, 4] % of the aerosol radiative forcing in the 10 Tg S scenario. The monthly cold-point temperature increases leading to the SWV increase are not linear with respect to aerosol optical depth (AOD) nor is the corresponding SWV forcing, among others, due to hysteresis effects, seasonal dependencies, aerosol profile heights and feedbacks. However, knowledge of the cold-point temperature increase allows for an estimation of SWV increases of 12 % per Kelvin increase in mean cold-point temperature. For yearly averages, power functions are fitted to the cold-point warming and SWV forcing with increasing AOD.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A660367527