Stratospheric aerosol evolution after Pinatubo simulated with a coupled size-resolved aerosol–chemistry–climate model, SOCOL-AERv1.0

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Sukhodolov T
Sheng J-X
Feinberg A
Luo B-P
Peter T
Revell L
Stenke A
Weisenstein DK
Rozanov E

We evaluate how the coupled aerosol–chemistry– climate model SOCOL-AERv1.0 represents the influence of the 1991 eruption of Mt. Pinatubo on stratospheric aerosol properties and atmospheric state. The aerosol module is coupled to the radiative and chemical modules and includes comprehensive sulfur chemistry and microphysics, in which the particle size distribution is represented by 40 size bins with radii spanning from 0.39 nm to 3.2 µm. SOCOL-AER simulations are compared with satellite and in situ measurements of aerosol parameters, temperature reanalyses, and ozone observations. In addition to the reference model configuration, we performed series of sensitivity experiments looking at different processes affecting the aerosol layer. An accurate sedimentation scheme is found to be essential to prevent particles from diffusing too rapidly to high and low altitudes. The aerosol radiative feedback and the use of a nudged quasibiennial oscillation help to keep aerosol in the tropics and significantly affect the evolution of the stratospheric aerosol burden, which improves the agreement with observed aerosol mass distributions. The inclusion of van der Waals forces in the particle coagulation scheme suggests improvements in particle effective radius, although other parameters (such as aerosol longevity) deteriorate. Modification of the Pinatubo sulfur emission rate also improves some aerosol parameters, while it worsens others compared to observations. Observations themselves are highly uncertain and render it difficult to conclusively judge the necessity of further model reconfiguration. The model revealed problems in reproducing aerosol sizes above 25 km and also in capturing certain features of the ozone response. Besides this, our results show that SOCOL-AER is capable of predicting the most important global-scale atmospheric effects following volcanic eruptions, which is also a prerequisite for an improved understanding of solar geoengineering effects from sulfur injections to the stratosphere

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Fields of Research::37 - Earth sciences::3701 - Atmospheric sciences::370103 - Atmospheric aerosols
Fields of Research::37 - Earth sciences::3701 - Atmospheric sciences::370104 - Atmospheric composition, chemistry and processes
Field of Research::04 - Earth Sciences::0401 - Atmospheric Sciences::040105 - Climatology (excl. Climate Change Processes)
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.