Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-1433
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-1433
03 Jul 2024
 | 03 Jul 2024
Status: this preprint is open for discussion and under review for Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

The optical properties of stratospheric aerosol layer perturbation of the Hunga volcano eruption of January 15th, 2022

Pasquale Sellitto, Redha Belhadji, Bernard Legras, Aurélien Podglajen, and Clair Duchamp

Abstract. The Hunga volcano violently erupted on January 15th, 2022, and produced the largest stratospheric aerosol layer perturbation of the last 30 years. One notable effect of the Hunga eruption was the significant modification of the size distribution (SD) of the stratospheric aerosol layer with respect to background conditions and other recent moderate stratospheric eruptions, with larger mean particles size and smaller SD spread for Hunga. Starting from satellite-based SD retrievals, and the assumption of pure sulphate aerosol layers, in this work we calculate the optical properties of both background and Hunga-perturbed stratospheric aerosol scenarios using a Mie code. We found that the intensive optical properties of the stratospheric aerosol layer (i.e., single scattering albedo, asymmetry parameter, aerosol extinction per unit mass and the broad-band average Ångström exponent) were not significantly perturbed by the Hunga eruption, with respect to background conditions. The calculated Ångström exponent was found consistent with multi-instrument satellite observations of the same parameter. Thus, the basic impact of the Hunga eruption on the optical properties of the stratospheric aerosol layer was an increase of the stratospheric aerosol extinction (or optical depth), without any modification of the shortwave and longwave relative absorption, angular scattering and broad-band spectral trend of the extinction, with respect to background. This highlights a marked difference of the Hunga perturbation of the stratospheric aerosol layer and those from other larger stratospheric eruptions, like Pinatubo 1991 and El Chichon 1982. With simplified radiative forcing estimations, we show that the Hunga eruption produced an aerosol layer likely 3–10 times more effective in producing a net cooling of the climate system with respect to Pinatubo and El Chichon eruptions, due to more effective shortwave scattering. As intensive optical properties are seldom directly measured, e.g. from satellite, our calculations can support the estimation of radiative effects for the Hunga eruption with climate or offline radiative models.

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Pasquale Sellitto, Redha Belhadji, Bernard Legras, Aurélien Podglajen, and Clair Duchamp

Status: open (until 16 Aug 2024)

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Pasquale Sellitto, Redha Belhadji, Bernard Legras, Aurélien Podglajen, and Clair Duchamp
Pasquale Sellitto, Redha Belhadji, Bernard Legras, Aurélien Podglajen, and Clair Duchamp

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Short summary
The Hunga volcano erupted on 15/01/22, producing the largest stratospheric aerosol perturbation of the last 30 years. Stratospheric volcanic aerosols usually produce a transient climate cooling; these impacts depend on volcanic aerosol composition/size, due to size-dependent interactions with solar/terrestrial radiation. We demonstrate that the Hunga stratospheric aerosol have a larger cooling potential per unit mass than the past climate-relevant El Chichon (1984) and Pinatubo (1991) eruptions.