Northern Hemisphere winter warming and summer monsoon reduction after volcanic eruptions over the last millennium

Brian Zambri, Allegra N. LeGrande, Alan Robock, Joanna Slawinska

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24 Scopus citations


Observations show that all recent large tropical volcanic eruptions (1850 to Present) were followed by surface winter warming in the first Northern Hemisphere (NH) winter after the eruption. Recent studies show that climate models produce a surface winter warming response in the first winter after the largest eruptions but require a large ensemble of simulations to see significant changes. It is also generally required that the eruption be very large, and only two such eruptions occurred in the historical period: Krakatau in 1883 and Pinatubo in 1991. Here we examine surface winter warming patterns after the 10 largest volcanic eruptions between 850 and 1850 in the Paleoclimate Modeling Intercomparison Project 3 last millennium simulations and in the Community Earth System Model Last Millennium Ensemble. These eruptions were all larger than those since 1850. Though the results depend on both the individual models and the forcing data set used, we have found that models produce a surface winter warming signal in the first winter after large volcanic eruptions, with higher temperatures over NH continents and a stronger polar vortex in the lower stratosphere. We also examined NH summer precipitation responses in the first year after the eruptions and find clear reductions of summer Asian and African monsoon rainfall.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7971-7989
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Issue number15
StatePublished - 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology


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