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Dispersion and lifetime of the SO2 cloud from the August 2008 Kasatochi eruption

Krotkov, N., M. R. Schoeberl, G. A. Morris, S. A. Carn, and K. Yang (2010), Dispersion and lifetime of the SO2 cloud from the August 2008 Kasatochi eruption, J. Geophys. Res., 115, D00L20, doi:10.1029/2010JD013984.

Hemispherical dispersion of the SO2 cloud from the August 2008 Kasatochi eruption is analyzed using satellite data from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) and the Goddard Trajectory Model (GTM). The operational OMI retrievals underestimate the total SO2 mass by 20–30% on 8–11 August, as compared with more accurate offline Extended Iterative Spectral Fit (EISF) retrievals, but the error decreases with time due to plume dispersion and a drop in peak SO2 column densities. The GTM runs were initialized with and compared to the operational OMI SO2 data during early plume dispersion to constrain SO2 plume heights and eruption times. The most probable SO2 heights during initial dispersion are estimated to be 10–12 km, in agreement with direct height retrievals using EISF algorithm and IR measurements. Using these height constraints a forward GTM run was initialized on 11 August to compare with the month‐long Kasatochi SO2 cloud dispersion patterns. Predicted volcanic cloud locations generally agree with OMI observations, although some discrepancies were observed. Operational OMI SO2 burdens were refined using GTM‐predicted mass‐weighted probability density height distributions. The total refined SO2 mass was integrated over the Northern Hemisphere to place empirical constraints on the SO2 chemical decay rate. The resulting lower limit of the Kasatochi SO2 e‐folding time is ∼8–9 days. Extrapolation of the exponential decay back in time yields an initial erupted SO2 mass of ∼2.2 Tg on 8 August, twice as much as the measured mass on that day.

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Research Program: 
Applied Sciences Program (ASP)
Atmospheric Composition Modeling and Analysis Program (ACMAP)
Tropospheric Composition Program (TCP)
Upper Atmosphere Research Program (UARP)