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Climatic impacts of volcaninc ash electrification

Project description

Modelling the impact of electrification on the life cycle of volcanic ash

Large volcanic eruptions have far-reaching effects on global climate. They release large quantities of CO2 and inject ash particles and sulfur-rich gases into the troposphere and stratosphere. This is what is known as atmospheric haze. Recent measurements from space show that the stratospheric aerosol layer is actually a mixture of sulfates and ash many months after an eruption. The EU-funded ElectricVolcano project will investigate the unknown processes responsible for the prolonged residence time of volcanic ash in the stratosphere and assess its climatic impact. By combining remote sensing techniques, detailed aerosol charging theories and comprehensive atmospheric modelling, it will test whether electric charges of the volcanic plume are responsible for keeping volcanic ash aloft.

Objective

Volcanic eruptions affect the Earth’s climate by altering radiation balance through the injection of aerosols in the stratosphere. Conventional knowledge assumes that volcanic influences on climate are mediated by sulfate aerosols only. Recent space-based measurements, however, have challenged this assumption by providing definite evidence that the stratospheric aerosol layer is actually a mixture of sulfates and ash for many months after the eruption. This project aims to understand the unknown processes responsible for the prolonged residence time of the volcanic ash in the stratosphere and to assess its climatic impact. Our main hypothesis is that electric charges of the volcanic plume are responsible for keeping volcanic ash aloft. Charge separation in the volcanic plume induces a local electric field and a force that counteracts the ash particle weight, thus reducing its settling velocity and prolonging its lifetime. ElectricVolcano will combine state-of-art remote sensing techniques, detailed aerosol charging theories and comprehensive atmospheric modelling to provide for the first time a thorough assessment of the impact of electrification on the life cycle of volcanic ash in the stratosphere. Through cutting edge inter-interdisciplinary research, the project produces a step change in the way volcanic eruptions are treated by modelling centers and inter-comparison studies, with the potential to significantly reduce uncertainties in natural forcing and near-term predictions. Carefully-designed research and training activities, combined with the world-class excellence on aerosol-electrification research of the Host Institute, guarantee the success of the proposed project. ElectricVolcano provides new knowledge, tools and resources to the Experienced Researcher for expanding significantly his research horizon and boosting his professional independence.

Coordinator

ETHNIKO ASTEROSKOPEIO ATHINON
Net EU contribution
€ 165 085,44
Address
LOFOS NYMFON
11810 Athina
Greece

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Region
Αττική Aττική Κεντρικός Τομέας Αθηνών
Activity type
Research Organisations
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Total cost
€ 165 085,44