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Atmospheric distribution and removal of volcanic ash after the eruption of Kasatochi volcano: A regional model study

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Langmann, B., Zaksek, K., & Hort, M. (2010). Atmospheric distribution and removal of volcanic ash after the eruption of Kasatochi volcano: A regional model study. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, 115: D00L06. doi:10.1029/2009JD013298.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0015-882F-C
In August 2008, Kasatochi volcano on the Aleutian Islands erupted without much advance warning. Volcanic ash released during this eruption quickly settled out of the atmosphere, mainly into the NE Pacific Ocean. The amount of volcanic ash, as well as the ash fall area and volume into the NE Pacific Ocean, remains speculative, as only a limited number of measurements is available. We used a three-dimensional atmosphere/chemistry-aerosol model to determine the atmospheric distribution of SO2 and volcanic ash and its fallout after the eruption of Kasatochi volcano. In a first step, modeled atmospheric SO2 distributions are compared with satellite data, thereby evaluating the model capabilities to reasonably reproduce atmospheric transport patterns. For modeled volcanic ash mass a considerable reduction of the atmospheric content already occurred by 10 August, the second day after the eruption in accordance with satellite observations. Gravitational settling is the most efficient removal process for volcanic ash mass, exceeding dry and wet deposition by far. Assuming an ash volume of 0.3 km(3) released during the eruption of Kasatochi volcano and a median ash particle diameter of 4 mu m, the mass of volcanic ash removed at ground within the 0.1 mm isopach covers an area of 7.6 x 10(5) km(2) over the NE Pacific Ocean and makes up 49% of the removed material out of the atmosphere. The amount of ash and that of iron attached to it is sufficient to explain measured seawater CO2 decrease at the ocean station Papa in August 2008 induced by iron fertilization and subsequent phytoplankton production.