The climatic effects of the direct injection of water vapour into the stratosphere by large volcanic eruptions

Joshi, MM and Jones, GS (2009) The climatic effects of the direct injection of water vapour into the stratosphere by large volcanic eruptions. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 9 (16). pp. 6109-6118. ISSN 1680-7324

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Abstract

We describe a novel mechanism that can significantly lower the amplitude of the climatic response to certain large volcanic eruptions and examine its impact with a coupled ocean-atmosphere climate model. If sufficiently large amounts of water vapour enter the stratosphere, a climatically significant amount of water vapour can be left over in the lower stratosphere after the eruption, even after sulphate aerosol formation. This excess stratospheric humidity warms the tropospheric climate, and acts to balance the climatic cooling induced by the volcanic aerosol, especially because the humidity anomaly lasts for a period that is longer than the residence time of aerosol in the stratosphere. In particular, northern hemisphere high latitude cooling is reduced in magnitude. We discuss this mechanism in the context of the discrepancy between the observed and modelled cooling following the Krakatau eruption in 1883. We hypothesize that moist coignimbrite plumes caused by pyroclastic flows travelling over ocean rather than land, resulting from an eruption close enough to the ocean, might provide the additional source of stratospheric water vapour.

Item Type: Article
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
University of East Anglia > Faculty of Science > Research Centres > Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
University of East Anglia > Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Climatic Research Unit
University of East Anglia > Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Volcanoes@UEA
University of East Anglia > Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Marine and Atmospheric Sciences
University of East Anglia > Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Meteorology, Oceanography and Climate Dynamics
University of East Anglia > Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Climate, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences
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Depositing User: Rhiannon Harvey
Date Deposited: 01 Feb 2012 11:54
Last Modified: 25 Jul 2018 04:54
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/36705
DOI: 10.5194/acp-9-6109-2009

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