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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2019-02-01
    Description: Volcanic activity in and around the year 536 CE led to severe cold and famine, and has been speculatively linked to large-scale societal crises around the globe. Using a coupled aerosol-climate model, with eruption parameters constrained by recently re-dated ice core records and historical observations of the aerosol cloud, we reconstruct the radiative forcing resulting from a sequence of two major volcanic eruptions in 536 and 540 CE. We estimate that the decadal-scale Northern Hemisphere (NH) extra-tropical radiative forcing from this volcanic “double event” was larger than that of any period in existing reconstructions of the last 1200 years. Earth system model simulations including the volcanic forcing show peak NH mean temperature anomalies reaching more than −2 °C, and show agreement with the limited number of available maximum latewood density temperature reconstructions. The simulations also produce decadal-scale anomalies of Arctic sea ice. The simulated cooling is interpreted in terms of probable impacts on agricultural production in Europe, and implies a high likelihood of multiple years of significant decreases in crop production across Scandinavia, supporting the theory of a connection between the 536 and 540 eruptions and evidence of societal crisis dated to the mid-6th century.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
    Format: text
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  • 2
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    AGU
    In:  Eos: Earth & Space Science News, 97 . pp. 1-3.
    Publication Date: 2018-12-17
    Description: First workshop of the Volcanic Impacts on Climate and Society Working Group; Palisades, New York, 6–8 June 2016. To predict and prepare for future climate change, scientists are striving to understand how global-scale climatic change manifests itself on regional scales and also how societies adapt—or don’t—to sometimes subtle and complex climatic changes. In this regard, the strongest volcanic eruptions of the past are powerful test cases, showcasing how the broad climate system responds to sudden changes in radiative forcing and how societies have responded to the resulting climatic shocks.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2019-09-23
    Description: We present for the first time a self-consistent methodology connecting volcanological field data to global climate model estimates for a regional time series of explosive volcanic events. Using the petrologic method, we estimated SO2 emissions from 36 detected Plinian volcanic eruptions occurring at the Central American Volcanic Arc (CAVA) during the past 200,000 years. Together with simple parametrized relationships collected from past studies, we derive estimates of global maximum volcanic aerosol optical depth (AOD) and radiative forcing (RF) describing the effect of each eruption on radiation reaching the Earth’s surface. In parallel, AOD and RF time series for selected CAVA eruptions are simulated with the global aerosol model MAECHAM5-HAM, which shows a relationship between stratospheric SO2 injection and maximum global mean AOD that is linear for smaller volcanic eruptions (〈5 Mt SO2) and nonlinear for larger ones (≥5 Mt SO2) and is qualitatively and quantitatively consistent with the relationship used in the simple parametrized approximation. Potential climate impacts of the selected CAVA eruptions are estimated using an earth system model of intermediate complexity by RF time series derived by (1) directly from the global aerosol model and (2) from the simple parametrized approximation assuming a 12-month exponential decay of global AOD. We find that while the maximum AOD and RF values are consistent between the two methods, their temporal evolutions are significantly different. As a result, simulated global maximum temperature anomalies and the duration of the temperature response depend on which RF time series is used, varying between 2 and 3 K and 60 and 90 years for the largest eruption of the CAVA dataset. Comparing the recurrence time of eruptions, based on the CAVA dataset, with the duration of climate impacts, based on the model results, we conclude that cumulative impacts due to successive eruptions are unlikely. The methodology and results presented here can be used to calculate approximate volcanic forcings and potential climate impacts from sulfur emissions, sulfate aerosol or AOD data for any eruption that injects sulfur into the tropical stratosphere.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2019-09-23
    Description: Interest in stratospheric aerosol and its role in climate have increased over the last decade due to the observed increase in stratospheric aerosol since 2000 and the potential for changes in the sulfur cycle induced by climate change. This review provides an overview about the advances in stratospheric aerosol research since the last comprehensive assessment of stratospheric aerosol was published in 2006. A crucial development since 2006 is the substantial improvement in the agreement between in situ and space-based inferences of stratospheric aerosol properties during volcanically quiescent periods. Furthermore, new measurement systems and techniques, both in situ and space based, have been developed for measuring physical aerosol properties with greater accuracy and for characterizing aerosol composition. However, these changes induce challenges to constructing a long-term stratospheric aerosol climatology. Currently, changes in stratospheric aerosol levels less than 20% cannot be confidently quantified. The volcanic signals tend to mask any nonvolcanically driven change, making them difficult to understand. While the role of carbonyl sulfide as a substantial and relatively constant source of stratospheric sulfur has been confirmed by new observations and model simulations, large uncertainties remain with respect to the contribution from anthropogenic sulfur dioxide emissions. New evidence has been provided that stratospheric aerosol can also contain small amounts of nonsulfate matter such as black carbon and organics. Chemistry-climate models have substantially increased in quantity and sophistication. In many models the implementation of stratospheric aerosol processes is coupled to radiation and/or stratospheric chemistry modules to account for relevant feedback processes
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2016-04-13
    Print ISSN: 0165-0009
    Electronic ISSN: 1573-1480
    Topics: Geosciences , Physics
    Published by Springer
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