Ocean Response to the Pinatubo and 1259 Volcanic Eruptions

Seong-Joong Kim, Baek-Min Kim
2012 Ocean and Polar Research  
The ocean's response to the Pinatubo and 1259 volcanic eruptions was investigated using an ocean general circulation model equipped with an energy balance model. Volcanic eruptions release gases into the atmosphere which increases the aerosol optical depth and acts to reduce the incoming short-wave radiation. For example, there was a huge volcanic eruption (Pinatubo) in 1991 which reduced the global mean radiative forcing by about 3 W m −2 . Two numerical experiments were simulated. The first
more » ... periment features the Pinatubo eruption and the second experiment simulates the much larger volcanic eruption that occurred in 1259 when the radiative forcing was reduced by 7 times compared to the Pinatubo event. With the reduced radiative forcing due to the Pinatubo eruption at about 3 W m −2 and 1259 eruption at about 21 W m −2 , the global mean sea surface temperature (SST) decreased to its lowest in the second year after each event by about 0.4 o C and 1.6 o C, respectively. Sea surface salinity (SSS) increased substantially in the northern North Pacific, northern North Atlantic, and the Southern Ocean. The reduced SST together with SSS increased ocean convection, which yielded an increase in North Atlantic Deep Water, Antarctic Bottom Water, and North Pacific Intermediate Water production and their outflows. The increase in overturning circulation eventually increased the pole-ward ocean heat fluxes. In conclusion, huge volcanic eruptions perturb the ocean substantially and their hallmarks last for more than a decade, confirming the importance of volcanic eruptions in illustrating the decadal-climate variability recorded in the paleoclimate proxy data for the past million years.
doi:10.4217/opr.2012.34.3.305 fatcat:wd6nngigv5bcvgdlu25v7fyiry