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Journal Articles Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Year : 2023

Unexpectedly rapid aerosol formation in the Hunga Tonga plume

Paul Walter
James Flynn

Abstract

The Hunga Tonga–Hunga Ha’apai (HT-HH) volcanic eruptions on January 13 and 15, 2022, produced a plume with the highest signal in stratospheric aerosol optical depth observed since the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991. Suites of balloon-borne instruments on a series of launches from Réunion Island intercepted the HT-HH plume between 7 and 10 d of the eruptions, yielding observations of the aerosol number and size distribution and sulfur dioxide (SO 2 ) and water vapor (H 2 O) concentrations. The measurements reveal an unexpected abundance of large particles in the plume, constrain the total sulfur injected to approximately 0.2 Tg, provide information on the altitude of the injection, and indicate that the formation of sulfuric acid aerosol was complete within 3 wk. Large H 2 O enhancements contributed as much as ~30% to ambient aerosol surface area and likely accelerated SO 2 oxidation and aerosol formation rates in the plume to approximately three times faster than under normal stratospheric conditions.
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Thursday, March 7, 2024
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Thursday, March 7, 2024
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Dates and versions

hal-04301363 , version 1 (24-11-2023)

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Elizabeth Asher, Michael Todt, Karen Rosenlof, Troy Thornberry, Ru-Shan Gao, et al.. Unexpectedly rapid aerosol formation in the Hunga Tonga plume. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2023, 120 (46), ⟨10.1073/pnas.2219547120⟩. ⟨hal-04301363⟩
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