Model simulations of the chemical and aerosol microphysical evolution of the Sarychev Peak 2009 eruption cloud compared to in situ and satellite observations

Abstract : Volcanic eruptions impact climate through the injection of sulfur dioxide (SO2), which is oxidized to form sulfuric acid aerosol particles that can enhance the stratospheric aerosol optical depth (SAOD). Besides large-magnitude eruptions, moderate-magnitude eruptions such as Kasatochi in 2008 and Sarychev Peak in 2009 can have a significant impact on stratospheric aerosol and hence climate. However, uncertainties remain in quantifying the atmospheric and climatic impacts of the 2009 Sarychev Peak eruption due to limitations in previous model representations of volcanic aerosol microphysics and particle size, whilst biases have been identified in satellite estimates of post-eruption SAOD. In addition, the 2009 Sarychev Peak eruption co-injected hydrogen chloride (HCl) alongside SO2, whose potential stratospheric chemistry impacts have not been investigated to date. We present a study of the stratospheric SO2–particle–HCl processing and impacts following Sarychev Peak eruption, using the Community Earth System Model version 1.0 (CESM1) Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model (WACCM) – Community Aerosol and Radiation Model for Atmospheres (CARMA) sectional aerosol microphysics model (with no a priori assumption on particle size). The Sarychev Peak 2009 eruption injected 0.9 Tg of SO2 into the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UTLS), enhancing the aerosol load in the Northern Hemisphere. The post-eruption evolution of the volcanic SO2 in space and time are well reproduced by the model when compared to Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI) satellite data. Co-injection of 27 Gg HCl causes a lengthening of the SO2 lifetime and a slight delay in the formation of aerosols, and acts to enhance the destruction of stratospheric ozone and mono-nitrogen oxides (NOx) compared to the simulation with volcanic SO2 only. We therefore highlight the need to account for volcanic halogen chemistry when simulating the impact of eruptions such as Sarychev on stratospheric chemistry. The model-simulated evolution of effective radius (reff) reflects new particle formation followed by particle growth that enhances reff to reach up to 0.2 µm on zonal average. Comparisons of the model-simulated particle number and size distributions to balloon-borne in situ stratospheric observations over Kiruna, Sweden, in August and September 2009, and over Laramie, USA, in June and November 2009 show good agreement and quantitatively confirm the post-eruption particle enhancement. We show that the model-simulated SAOD is consistent with that derived from the Optical Spectrograph and InfraRed Imager System (OSIRIS) when both the saturation bias of OSIRIS and the fact that extinction profiles may terminate well above the tropopause are taken into account. Previous modelling studies (involving assumptions on particle size) that reported agreement with (biased) post-eruption estimates of SAOD derived from OSIRIS likely underestimated the climate impact of the 2009 Sarychev Peak eruption.
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Thibaut Lurton, Fabrice Jegou, Gwenaël Berthet, Jean-Baptiste Renard, Lieven Clarisse, et al.. Model simulations of the chemical and aerosol microphysical evolution of the Sarychev Peak 2009 eruption cloud compared to in situ and satellite observations. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, European Geosciences Union, 2018, 18 (5), pp.3223-3247. ⟨10.5194/acp-18-3223-2018⟩. ⟨insu-01799060⟩

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