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The effect of volcanic aerosols on ultraviolet radiation in Antarctica

Tsitas, Steven R. and Yung, Yuk L. (1996) The effect of volcanic aerosols on ultraviolet radiation in Antarctica. Geophysical Research Letters, 23 (2). pp. 157-160. ISSN 0094-8276. doi:10.1029/95GL03592.

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Volcanic eruptions can inject large amounts of aerosol into the atmosphere, and, at large solar zenith angles, scattering by these aerosols can actually increase the flux of UV-B (290–320 nm) radiation reaching the surface. This is surprising since aerosols increase the reflection of sunlight to space. As previous explanations of this phenomenon are heuristic and incomplete, we first provide a rigorous and complete explanation of how this surprising effect occurs. This phenomenon makes Antarctica during spring the most susceptible place on Earth to the scattering effect of volcanic aerosols, due to the combined effect of the spring ozone hole and the large solar zenith angles characteristic of this time of year. We show that an aerosol layer lying above Antarctica during spring will decrease the integrated daily dose of biologically weighted irradiance, weighted by the erythema action spectrum, by only up to 5%. Hence the effects of any significant destruction of ozone induced by volcanic aerosols will not be offset by aerosol scattering. Thus after a volcanic eruption, life in Antarctica during spring will suffer the combined effects of the spring ozone hole and ozone destruction induced by volcanic aerosols, with the latter effect only slightly offset by aerosol scattering.

Item Type:Article
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Yung, Yuk L.0000-0002-4263-2562
Additional Information:© 1996 American Geophysical Union. Received April 24, 1995; revised September 2, 1995; accepted November 2, 1995. This research was supported by grants from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, through grant number NAGW-413, and the Environmental Protection Agency, through grant number CR818670-01-0.
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Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)CR818670-01-0
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140818-132810133
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:48659
Deposited On:19 Aug 2014 21:01
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 18:33

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