3.4 Differences in the Evolution of Volcanic and Pyrocumulonimbus Stratospheric Aerosol Plumes as Observed by CALIOP and CATS Satellite Lidar

Wednesday, 15 January 2020: 9:15 AM
209 (Boston Convention and Exhibition Center)
Kenneth Christian, GSFC, Greenbelt, MD; and J. E. Yorks and V. Aquila

For some time, volcanic eruptions have been thought to be the only significant direct injectors of aerosols in the stratosphere. However, recent fire seasons have featured fire events resulting in large volcanic-sized pyrocumulonimbus plumes of smoke aerosols reaching many kilometers into the lower stratosphere. To understand and model the effects of these pyrocumulonimbus events on stratospheric composition and climate, a natural analogy lies with better studied volcanic events; however, differences in plume composition may limit this comparison. Using satellite lidar from both CATS and CALIOP, we show that the stratospheric aerosol plumes from the record-setting Pacific Northwest pyrocumulonimbus event of 2017 and the Calbuco volcanic eruption of 2015 evolve differently both vertically and microphysically. Specifically, depolarization ratios indicate that this pyrocumulonimbus event’s aerosol particles became more irregularly shaped over time in contrast to volcanic aerosols which become more spherical over time. Accounting for these changes in aerosol properties may be significant in assessing the effects of pyrocumulonimbus events on the Earth’s radiative balance and aid in refining stratospheric aerosol typing algorithms to differentiate volcanic from pyrocumulonimbus plumes.
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