Airborne stratospheric observations of major volcanic eruptions: past and future

Wednesday, 16 December 2015: 17:18
102 (Moscone South)
Paul A. Newman, NASA GSFC, Code 610, Greenbelt, MD, United States, Valentina Aquila, Johns Hopkins University, Earth and Planetary Science, Baltimore, MD, United States and Peter Richard Colarco, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States
Major volcanic eruptions (e.g. the 1991 eruption of Mt. Pinatubo) lead to a surface cooling and disruptions of the chemistry of the stratosphere. In this presentation, we will show model simulations of Mt. Pinatubo that can be used to devise a strategy for answering specific science questions. In particular, what is the initial mass injection, how is the cloud spreading, how are the stratospheric aerosols evolving, what is the impact on stratospheric chemistry, and how will climate be affected? We will also review previous stratospheric airborne observations of volcanic clouds using NASA sub-orbital assets, and discuss our present capabilities to observe the evolution of a stratospheric volcanic plume. These capabilities include aircraft such as the NASA ER-2, WB-57f, and Global Hawk. In addition, the NASA DC-8 and P-3 can be used to perform remote sensing. Balloon assets have also been employed, and new instrumentation is now available for volcanic work.