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Changes in stratospheric composition, chemistry, radiation and climate caused by volcanic eruptions

By
R. G. Grainger
R. G. Grainger
Atmospheric, Oceanic & Planetary Physics, Clarendon Laboratory, Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PU, UK. (e-mail: r.grainger@physics.ox.ac.uk)
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E. J. Highwood
E. J. Highwood
Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, Reading RG6 6BB, UK.
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Published:
January 01, 2003

Abstract

The primary effect of a volcanic eruption is to alter the composition of the stratosphere by the direct injection of ash and gases. On average, there is a stratospherically significant volcanic eruption about every 5.5 years. The principal effect of such an eruption is the enhancement of stratospheric sulphuric acid aerosol through the oxidation and condensation of the oxidation product H2SO4. Following the formation of the enhanced aerosol layer, observations have shown a reduction in the amount of direct radiation reaching the ground and a concomitant increase in diffuse radiation. This is associated with an increase in stratospheric temperature and a decrease in global mean surface temperature (although the spatial pattern of temperature changes is complex). In addition, the enhanced aerosol layer increases heterogeneous processing, and this reduces the levels of active nitrogen in the lower stratosphere. This in turn gives rise to either a decrease or an increase in stratospheric ozone levels, depending on the level of chlorine loading.

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Contents

Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Volcanic Degassing

C. Oppenheimer
C. Oppenheimer
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D. M. Pyle
D. M. Pyle
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J. Barclay
J. Barclay
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Geological Society of London
Volume
213
ISBN electronic:
9781862394612
Publication date:
January 01, 2003

GeoRef

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