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Atmosphere 2016, 7(7), 85; doi:10.3390/atmos7070085

Sulfate Aerosols from Non-Explosive Volcanoes: Chemical-Radiative Effects in the Troposphere and Lower Stratosphere

1
Department of Physical and Chemical Sciences, Università dell’Aquila, 67100 L’Aquila, Italy
2
CETEMPS, Università dell’Aquila, 67100 L’Aquila, Italy
3
Enea, Ente per le Nuove Tecnologie, l’Energia e l’Ambiente, 00123 Roma, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Robert W. Talbot
Received: 26 May 2016 / Revised: 16 June 2016 / Accepted: 19 June 2016 / Published: 23 June 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Atmospheric Aerosols and Their Radiative Effects)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [8495 KB, uploaded 28 June 2016]   |  

Abstract

SO2 and H2S are the two most important gas-phase sulfur species emitted by volcanoes, with a global amount from non-explosive emissions of the order 10 Tg-S/yr. These gases are readily oxidized forming SO42− aerosols, which effectively scatter the incoming solar radiation and cool the surface. They also perturb atmospheric chemistry by enhancing the NOx to HNO3 heterogeneous conversion via hydrolysis on the aerosol surface of N2O5 and Br-Cl nitrates. This reduces formation of tropospheric O3 and the OH to HO2 ratio, thus limiting the oxidation of CH4 and increasing its lifetime. In addition to this tropospheric chemistry perturbation, there is also an impact on the NOx heterogeneous chemistry in the lower stratosphere, due to vertical transport of volcanic SO2 up to the tropical tropopause layer. Furthermore, the stratospheric O3 formation and loss, as well as the NOx budget, may be slightly affected by the additional amount of upward diffused solar radiation and consequent increase of photolysis rates. Two multi-decadal time-slice runs of a climate-chemistry-aerosol model have been designed for studying these chemical-radiative effects. A tropopause mean global net radiative flux change (RF) of −0.23 W·m−2 is calculated (including direct and indirect aerosol effects) with a 14% increase of the global mean sulfate aerosol optical depth. A 5–15 ppt NOx decrease is found in the mid-troposphere subtropics and mid-latitudes and also from pole to pole in the lower stratosphere. The tropospheric NOx perturbation triggers a column O3 decrease of 0.5–1.5 DU and a 1.1% increase of the CH4 lifetime. The surface cooling induced by solar radiation scattering by the volcanic aerosols induces a tropospheric stabilization with reduced updraft velocities that produce ice supersaturation conditions in the upper troposphere. A global mean 0.9% decrease of the cirrus ice optical depth is calculated with an indirect RF of −0.08 W·m−2. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate-chemistry-aerosol model; non-explosive volcanic eruptions; atmospheric sulfur budget; sulfate aerosols; aerosol chemical-radiative effects; upper tropospheric ice particles climate-chemistry-aerosol model; non-explosive volcanic eruptions; atmospheric sulfur budget; sulfate aerosols; aerosol chemical-radiative effects; upper tropospheric ice particles
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Pitari, G.; Visioni, D.; Mancini, E.; Cionni, I.; Di Genova, G.; Gandolfi, I. Sulfate Aerosols from Non-Explosive Volcanoes: Chemical-Radiative Effects in the Troposphere and Lower Stratosphere. Atmosphere 2016, 7, 85.

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