Volcanic stratospheric sulphur injections and aerosol optical depth from 500 BCE to 1900 CE.

Toohey, Matthew and Sigl, Michael (2017) Volcanic stratospheric sulphur injections and aerosol optical depth from 500 BCE to 1900 CE. Open Access Earth System Science Data, 9 . pp. 809-831. DOI 10.5194/essd-9-809-2017.

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Supplementary data:


The injection of sulphur into the stratosphere by explosive volcanic eruptions is the cause of significant climate variability. Based on sulphate records from a suite of ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica, the eVolv2k database includes estimates of the magnitudes and approximate source latitudes of major volcanic stratospheric sulphur injection (VSSI) events from 500 BCE to 1900 CE, constituting an update of prior reconstructions and an extension of the record by 1000 years. The VSSI estimates incorporate improvements to the ice core records in terms of synchronization and dating, refinements to the methods used to estimate VSSI from ice core records, and includes first estimates of the random uncertainties in VSSI values. VSSI estimates for many of the largest eruptions, including Samalas (1257), Tambora (1815) and Laki (1783) are within 10% of prior estimates. A number of strong events are included in eVolv2k which are largely underestimated or not included in earlier VSSI reconstructions, including events in 540, 574, 682 and 1108 CE. The long term annual mean VSSI from major volcanic eruptions is estimated to be ∼ 0.5 Tg [S] yr−1, ∼ 50 % greater than a prior reconstruction, due to the identification of more events and an increase in the magnitude of many intermediate events. A long-term, latitudinally and monthly resolved stratospheric aerosol optical depth (SAOD) time series is reconstructed from the eVolv2k VSSI estimates, and the resulting global mean SAOD is found to be similar (within 33%) to a prior reconstruction for most of the largest eruptions. The long-term (500 BCE–900 CE) average global mean SAOD estimated from the eVolv2k VSSI estimates and including a constant "background" injection of stratospheric sulphur is ∼ 0.014, 30 % greater than a prior reconstruction. These new long-term reconstructions of past VSSI and SAOD variability give context to recent volcanic forcing, suggesting that the 20th century was a period of somewhat weaker than average volcanic forcing, with current best estimates of 20th century mean VSSI and SAOD values being 25 and 14 % less, respectively, than the mean of the 500 BCE to 1900 CE period. The reconstructed VSSI and SAOD data are available at https://doi.org/10.1594/WDCC/eVolv2k_v2>.

Document Type: Article
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB1 Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics > FB1-ME Maritime Meteorology
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: Yes
Publisher: Copernicus Publications (EGU)
Projects: Antarctic Research with comparative investigations in Arctic ice areas, PAGES
Date Deposited: 20 Jun 2017 07:48
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2020 09:10
URI: https://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/38452

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