Properties of Sarychev sulphate aerosols over the Arctic

N. T. O'Neill, C. Perro, A. Saha, G. Lesins, T. J. Duck, E. W. Eloranta, G. J. Nott, A. Hoffman, M. L. Karumudi, C. Ritter, A. Bourassa, I. Abboud, S. A. Carn, and V. Savastiouk, Journal of Geophysical Research, 117, D04203, doi: doi:10.1029/2011JD016838, 2012.

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Abstract. Aerosols from the Sarychev Peak volcano entered the Arctic region less than a week after the strongest SO2 eruption on June 15 and 16, 2009 and had, by the first week in July, spread out over the entire Arctic region. These predominantly stratospheric aerosols were determined to be sub-micron in size and inferred to be composed of sulphates produced from the condensation of SO2 gases emitted during the eruption. Average (500 nm) Sarychev-induced stratospheric optical depths (SOD) over the Polar Environmental Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) at Eureka (Nunavut, Canada) were found to be between 0.03 and 0.05 during the months of July and August, 2009. This estimate, derived from sunphotometry and integrated lidar backscatter profiles was consistent with averages derived from lidar estimates over Ny-Alesund (Spitsbergen). The Sarychev SOD e-folding time at Eureka, deduced from lidar profiles, was found to be approximately 4 months relative to a regression start date of July 27. These profiles initially revealed the presence of multiple Sarychev plumes between the tropopause and about 17 km altitude. After about two months, the complex vertical plume structures had collapsed into fewer, more homogeneous plumes located near the tropopause. It was found that the noisy character of daytime backscatter returns induced an artifactual minimum in the temporal, pan-Arctic, CALIOP SOD response to Sarychev sulphates. A depolarization ratio discrimination criterion was used to separate the CALIOP stratospheric layer class into a low depolarization subclass which was more representative of Sarychev sulphates. Post-SAT (post Sarychev Arrival Time) retrievals of the fine mode effective radius (reff,f) and the logarithmic standard deviation for two Eureka sites and Thule (Greenland) were all close to 0.25 microns and 1.6 respectively. The stratospheric analogue to the columnar reff,f average was estimated to be reff,f(+) = 0.29 microns for Eureka data. Stratospheric, Raman lidar retrievals at Ny-Alesund, yielded a post-SAT average of reff,f(+) = 0.27 microns. These results are approximately 50% larger than the background stratospheric-aerosol value. They are also about a factor of two larger than modeling values used in recent publications or about a factor of five larger in terms of (per particle) backscatter cross section.

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