[under review] Recent research has put in evidence the self-lofting capacity of smoke aerosols in the stratosphere and their self-confinement by persistent anticyclones, which prolongs their atmospheric residence time and radiative effects. By contrast, the volcanic aerosols-composed mostly of non-absorptive sulphuric acid droplets-were never reported to be subject of self-lofting nor of dynamical confinement. Here we use high-resolution satellite observations to show that the eruption of Raikoke volcano in June 2019 produced a long-lived stratospheric anticyclone containing 24% of the total erupted mass of sulphur dioxide. The anticyclone persisted for more than 3 months, circumnavigated the globe three times, and ascended diabatically to 27 km altitude through radiative heating of volcanic ash contained by the plume. The mechanism of dynamical confinement has important implications for the planetary-scale transport of volcanic emissions, their stratospheric residence time, and atmospheric radiation balance. It also provides a challenge or “out of sample test” for weather and climate models that should be capable of reproducing similar structures.
Sergey Khaykin, Jos de Laat et al.. Unexpected self-lofting and dynamical confinement of volcanic plumes: the Raikoke 2019 case
Journal: [under review] Scientific Reports, Year: 2022, doi: 10.1002/essoar.10512432.1