Multi-model comparison of the volcanic sulfate deposition from the 1815 eruption of Mt. Tambora

Lauren Marshall, Anja Schmidt, Matthew Toohey, Ken S. Carslaw, Graham W. Mann, Michael Sigl, Myriam Khodri, Claudia Timmreck, Davide Zanchettin, William T. Ball, Slimane Bekki, James Brooke, Sandip Dhomse, Colin Johnson, Jean Francois Lamarque, Allegra N. Legrande, Michael J. Mills, Ulrike Niemeier, James O. Pope, Virginie PoulainAlan Robock, Eugene Rozanov, Andrea Stenke, Timofei Sukhodolov, Simone Tilmes, Kostas Tsigaridis, Fiona Tummon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

The eruption of Mt. Tambora in 1815 was the largest volcanic eruption of the past 500 years. The eruption had significant climatic impacts, leading to the 1816 "year without a summer", and remains a valuable event from which to understand the climatic effects of large stratospheric volcanic sulfur dioxide injections. The eruption also resulted in one of the strongest and most easily identifiable volcanic sulfate signals in polar ice cores, which are widely used to reconstruct the timing and atmospheric sulfate loading of past eruptions. As part of the Model Intercomparison Project on the climatic response to Volcanic forcing (VolMIP), five state-of-the-art global aerosol models simulated this eruption. We analyse both simulated background (no Tambora) and volcanic (with Tambora) sulfate deposition to polar regions and compare to ice core records. The models simulate overall similar patterns of background sulfate deposition, al-though there are differences in regional details and magnitude. However, the volcanic sulfate deposition varies considerably between the models with differences in timing, spatial pattern and magnitude. Mean simulated deposited sulfate on Antarctica ranges from 19 to 264 kgkm-2 and on Greenland from 31 to 194 kgkm-2, as compared to the mean ice-corederived estimates of roughly 50 kgkm-2 for both Greenland and Antarctica. The ratio of the hemispheric atmospheric sulfate aerosol burden after the eruption to the average ice sheet deposited sulfate varies between models by up to a factor of 15. Sources of this inter-model variability include differences in both the formation and the transport of sulfate aerosol. Our results suggest that deriving relationships between sulfate deposited on ice sheets and atmospheric sulfate burdens from model simulations may be associated with greater uncertainties than previously thought.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2307-2328
Number of pages22
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Volume18
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 15 2018

    Fingerprint

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science

Cite this

Marshall, L., Schmidt, A., Toohey, M., Carslaw, K. S., Mann, G. W., Sigl, M., Khodri, M., Timmreck, C., Zanchettin, D., Ball, W. T., Bekki, S., Brooke, J., Dhomse, S., Johnson, C., Lamarque, J. F., Legrande, A. N., Mills, M. J., Niemeier, U., Pope, J. O., ... Tummon, F. (2018). Multi-model comparison of the volcanic sulfate deposition from the 1815 eruption of Mt. Tambora. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 18(3), 2307-2328. https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-18-2307-2018