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Geoscientific Model Development An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Model evaluation paper
25 Jan 2018
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Geoscientific Model Development (GMD).
Size-Resolved Stratospheric Aerosol Distributions after Pinatubo Derived from a Coupled Aerosol-Chemistry-Climate Model
Timofei Sukhodolov1,2, Jian-Xiong Sheng3, Aryeh Feinberg2, Bei-Ping Luo2, Thomas Peter2, Laura Revell2,4, Andrea Stenke2, Debra K. Weisenstein3, and Eugene Rozanov1,2 1Physikalisch-Meteorologisches Observatorium Davos and World Radiation Center, Davos, Switzerland
2School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, MA, United States
3Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
4Bodeker Scientific, Christchurch, New Zealand
Abstract. We evaluate how the coupled aerosol-chemistry-climate model SOCOL-AER represents the influence of the 1991 eruption of Mt. Pinatubo on stratospheric aerosol loading, aerosol microphysical processes, radiative effects, and atmospheric chemistry. The aerosol module includes comprehensive sulfur chemistry and microphysics, in which the particle size distribution is represented by 40 size bins spanning radii from 0.39 nm to 3.2 μm. Radiative forcing is computed online using aerosol optical properties calculated according to Mie theory. 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 a series of sensitivity experiments looking at different processes affecting the aerosol layer. An accurate sedimentation scheme is found to be essential to prevent particles diffusing too rapidly to high and low altitudes. The aerosol radiative feedback and the use of a nudged quasi-biennial 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. Changes in the aerosol distribution affected by an inclusion of Van der Waals forces to the particle coagulation scheme suggest improvements in particle effective radius, although other parameters (such as aerosol longevity) deteriorate. Modification of the Pinatubo emission rate also improves some aerosol parameters, while worsens others compared to observations. Observations themselves are highly uncertain and render it difficult to conclusively judge the necessity of further model reconfiguration. In conclusion, our results show that SOCOL-AER is capable of predicting the most important global-scale atmospheric and climate effects following volcanic eruptions, which is also a prerequisite for improved understanding of anthropogenic effects from sulfur emissions.
Citation: Sukhodolov, T., Sheng, J.-X., Feinberg, A., Luo, B.-P., Peter, T., Revell, L., Stenke, A., Weisenstein, D. K., and Rozanov, E.: Size-Resolved Stratospheric Aerosol Distributions after Pinatubo Derived from a Coupled Aerosol-Chemistry-Climate Model, Geosci. Model Dev. Discuss.,, in review, 2018.
Timofei Sukhodolov et al.
Timofei Sukhodolov et al.
Timofei Sukhodolov et al.


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Short summary
Mt. Pinatubo eruption in 1991 is the strongest directly observed volcanic event. In a series of experiments, we simulate its influence on the stratospheric aerosol layer using a state-of-the-art aerosol-chemistry-climate model SOCOL-AER and compare our results to observations. We show that SOCOL-AER reproduces well the most important atmospheric effects and therefore can be used to study climate effects of future volcanic eruptions and geo-engineering by artificial sulphate aerosol.
Mt. Pinatubo eruption in 1991 is the strongest directly observed volcanic event. In a series of...