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Climate change modulates the stratospheric volcanic sulfate aerosol lifecycle and radiative forcing from tropical eruptions

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Aubry, Thomas J. 
Staunton-Sykes, John  ORCID logo
Marshall, Lauren R.  ORCID logo
Abraham, Nathan Luke  ORCID logo


Abstract: Explosive volcanic eruptions affect climate, but how climate change affects the stratospheric volcanic sulfate aerosol lifecycle and radiative forcing remains unexplored. We combine an eruptive column model with an aerosol-climate model to show that the stratospheric aerosol optical depth perturbation from frequent moderate-magnitude tropical eruptions (e.g. Nabro 2011) will be reduced by 75% in a high-end warming scenario compared to today, a consequence of future tropopause height rise and unchanged eruptive column height. In contrast, global-mean radiative forcing, stratospheric warming and surface cooling from infrequent large-magnitude tropical eruptions (e.g. Mt. Pinatubo 1991) will be exacerbated by 30%, 52 and 15% in the future, respectively. These changes are driven by an aerosol size decrease, mainly caused by the acceleration of the Brewer-Dobson circulation, and an increase in eruptive column height. Quantifying changes in both eruptive column dynamics and aerosol lifecycle is therefore key to assessing the climate response to future eruptions.



Article, /704/106/35, /704/106/35/824, /704/106/694, /704/2151/598, article

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Nature Communications

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Nature Publishing Group UK
RCUK | Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) (NE/T006897/1, NE/S000887/1, NE/T006897/1)
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