Study Motivation

During the past 15 years, there have been more the 80 incidents of jet aircraft encountering volcanic clouds. Seven of these incidents resulted in the in-flight loss of engine power, which could have resulted in the crash of the aircraft, and repair costs (through mid-1994) have been estimated at more than $200 million [Casdevall, 1994]. As a result of these encounters, research on the satellite detection and tracking of volcanic clouds has been stimulated.

Large explosive volcanic eruptions are known to produce significant global climate perturbations and complicate observations of other climate forcing mechanisms. In order to accurately model global climate change, volcanic effects must be better understood

This study is focused on one important component of volcanism-climate interactions: the fate of silicate particles in the atmosphere. The eruptions of El Chichsn and Pinatubo demonstrated that eruptions which release large amounts of sulfur-rich volatiles can affectglobal climate. However, the fate of the silicate particles produced by eruptions such as these are not well known. In addition, large caldera forming eruptions, like Krakatau, which inject enormous amounts of very fine-grained silicates into the stratosphere, are capable of affecting global climate.

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