Volcanic material from Mount St Helens in the stratosphere over Europe
Earth and related Environmental sciences
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The two most recent balloon flights devoted to studying the stratospheric aerosol vertical structure by comparison with winds, temperature and ozone vertical structures took place on 7 May and on 5 June 1980. At 15.23 h GMT on 18 May Mount St Helens volcano (46 °N, 122 °W) erupted with a tremendous explosion, projecting ash into the stratosphere. An explosion of this size occurs only about once a decade1. This sudden introduction of material into the atmosphere offers the opportunity to study air motions both horizontally and vertically. The last such large-scale opportunity was offered by the Mount Fuego eruption which took place in 1974. In this latter case, the enhancement of stratospheric aerosols was observed by means of ground-based lidars and of balloon-borne particle counters. The time development of the aerosol event in 1974 and 1975 has been described elsewhere2-4. Mount St Helens material can now also be traced by various satellite-borne instruments. This new stratospheric aerosol event appears to be spectacular. As shown by the photographs discussed here, it leads in its early stage of development to an increase by a factor of three of the Earth limb reflectivity at 15-km altitude after a period of several years of low stratospheric aerosol content.
CitationAckerman, M.; Lippens, C.; Lechevallier, M. (1980). Volcanic material from Mount St Helens in the stratosphere over Europe. , Nature, Vol. 287, Issue 5783, 614-615, DOI: 10.1038/287614a0.