Science project 2: Constraining the effects of volcanic aerosol on radiative forcing and stratospheric composition (VolARC)

Science goals

The main science objective of the VolARC project is to improve the scientific understanding of the radiative impact of volcanic eruptions. This will be addressed by the following specific science objectives:

  • Characterization of the variability of the stratospheric aerosol particle size distribution (2 size parameters, i.e. mode/median radius and width of a log-normal distribution)
  • Development and evaluation of the ICON-ART model to represent aerosol microphysics and stratospheric sulfur chemistry in a nested environment
  • Estimation of the dependence of size distribution, optical properties and radiative forcing (RF) of volcanic aerosols on the way datasets are constructed to allow uncertainty estimates
  • Improvement of understanding of the effect of volcanic eruptions on stratospheric water vapour


Link to VolARC website of Bremen University.

Satellite measurements of stratospheric aerosol optical depth (1985 - 2017)


Christian von Savigny (PI, University of Greifswald), John P. Burrows (Co-I, University of Bremen), Marco Giorgetta (Co-I, MPI-M), Alexei Rozanov (Co-I, University of Bremen), Hauke Schmidt (Co-I, MPI-M), Bernhard Vogel (Co-I, KIT), Elizaveta Malinina (PostDoc, University of Bremen), Ulrike Niemeier (PostDoc, MPI-M), Felix Wrana (Ph.D. student, University of Greifswald)

Selected publications

Malinina, E., Rozanov, A., Rozanov, V., Liebing, P., Bovensmann, H., and Burrows, J. P.: Aerosol particle size distribution in the stratosphere retrieved from SCIAMACHY limb measurements, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 11, 2085-2100, /, 2018.

Malinina, E., Rozanov, A., Rieger, L., Bourassa, A., Bovensmann, H., Burrows, J. P., and Degenstein, D.: Stratospheric aerosol characteristics from space-borne observations: extinction coefficient and Ångström exponent, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 12, 3485-3502, /, 2019.

Niemeier, U., and Schmidt, H.: Changing transport processes in the stratosphere by radiative heating of sulfate aerosols, Atmos. Chem. Phys. 17, 14871 – 14886, /, 2017.

Niemeier, U., Timmreck, C., Krüger, K.: Revisiting the Agung 1963 volcanic forcing – impact of one or two eruptions,  Atmos. Chem. Phys., 19, 10379–10390, /,  2019.

Rieger, D., Bangert, M., Bischoff-Gauss, I., Förstner, J., Lundgren, K., Reinert, D., Schröter, J., Vogel, H., Zängl, G., Ruhnke, R., and Vogel, B.: ICON–ART 1.0 – a new online-coupled model system from the global to regional scale, Geosci. Model Dev., 8, 1659 – 1676,  /, 2015.

Schmidt, H., Rast, S., Bunzel, F., Esch, M., Giorgetta, M., Kinne, S., Krismer, T., Stenchikov, G., Timmreck, C., Tomassini, L. and Walz, M.: Response of the middle atmosphere to anthropogenic and natural forcings in the CMIP5 simulations with the Max Planck Institute Earth system model, J. Adv. Model. Earth Syst., 5(1), 98 – 116, /, 2013.

Taha, G., Rault, D. F., Loughman, R. P., Bourassa, A. E., and von Savigny, C.: SCIAMACHY stratospheric aerosol extinction profile retrieval using the OMPS/LP algorithm, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 4, 547-556, /doi:10.5194/amt-4-547-2011, 2011.

Vogel, H., Förstner, J., Vogel, B., Hanisch, T., Mühl, B., Schättler, U., Schad, T.: Time-lagged ensemble simulations of the dispersion of the Eyjafjallajökull plume over Europe with COSMO-ART, Atmos. Chem. Phys, 14, 7837 – 7845,  /, 2014.

von Savigny, C., Ernst, F., Rozanov, A., Hommel, R., Eichmann, K.-U., Rozanov, V., Burrows, J. P., and Thomason, L. W., Improved stratospheric aerosol extinction profiles from SCIAMACHY: validation and sample results, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 8, 5223 – 5235,  /, 2015.

von Savigny, C. and Hoffmann, C. G.: Issues related to the retrieval of stratospheric-aerosol particle size information based on optical measurements, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 13, 1909–1920,, 2020.

von Savigny, C., C. Timmreck, S. A. Buehler, J. P. Burrows, M. Giorgetta, G.Hegerl, A. Horvath, G. Hoshyaripour, C. Hoose, J. Quaas, E. Malinina, A. Rozanov, H. Schmidt, L. Thomason, M. Toohey, and B. Vogel, The Research Unit VolImpact: Revisiting the volcanic impact on atmosphere and climate - preparations for the next big volcanic eruption, Meteorologische Zeitschrift, 29, 1, 3-18, doi:10.1127/metz/2019/09992019, 2020.