Timing of Holocene volcanic eruptions and their radiative aerosol forcing

Volcanic eruptions play a dominant role in driving climate, in ways beyond the established short-term influence on surface air temperatures. In order to mitigate and adapt to the climate effects of future large volcanic eruptions we need to better quantify the risk of these eruptions including 1) the probability of their occurrence and 2) their expected climatic impact. The observational record of the timing of volcanic eruptions, their locations, magnitudes of sulphate aerosol injection is incomplete which limits our understanding of the sensitivity of the Earth system to volcanism and the vulnerability of social and economic systems to the climate impact of past and future eruptions. The primary goal of this proposal is to extract data on the timing, magnitudes and source locations of all major volcanic eruptions occurring during the Holocene (i.e., the past 12,000 years) to answer the questions: What is the likelihood of a stratospheric sulphur injection as large as that from the colossal eruption of Tambora in 1815 to occur somewhere on the globe within the next 100 years? What is the role of effusive eruptions on past, present and future climate? This will be achieved by employing novel, precisely dated, high-time resolution aerosol measurements from bipolar ice-core arrays. New tools will be used to constrain source parameters of the eruptions (location, plume injection height) that control their effects on climate. THERA will constrain recurrence rates for one of the largest global-scale natural hazards, while also assessing linkages between volcanic perturbations and key components of the climate systems (e.g., atmospheric circulation, droughts, ice-sheets and sea-level) through interdisciplinary case studies. As a final goal, THERA will generate global-scale, space-and-time resolved stratospheric aerosol properties for climate models to simulate the volcanic influence on Holocene climate evolution.

Grant Value1
Commencement Date / Completion Date1 March 2019 - 29 February 2024
Contributors Dr. Michael Sigl (Principle Investigator)
Dr. Peter Abbott (Co-Investigator)
Funders [18] European Research Council
Publications Burke, Andrea; Moore, Kathryn A.; Sigl, Michael; Nita, Dan C.; McConnell, Joseph R.; Adkins, Jess F. (2019). Stratospheric eruptions from tropical and extra-tropical volcanoes constrained using high-resolution sulfur isotopes in ice cores. Earth and planetary science letters, 521, pp. 113-119. Elsevier 10.1016/j.epsl.2019.06.006
Sigl, Michael; Buizert, Christo; Fudge, Tyler J; Winstrup, Mai; Cole-Dai, Jihong; McConnell, Joseph R; Ferris, David G; Rhodes, Rachael H; Taylor, Kendrick C; Welten, Kees C; Woodruff, Thomas E; Adolphi, Florian; Baggenstos, Daniel; Brook, Edward J; Caffee, Mark W; Clow, Gary D; Cheng, Hai; Cuffey, Kurt M; Dunbar, Nelia W; Edwards, Ross L; ... (2019). WAIS Divide Deep ice core 0-68 ka WD2014 chronology [Dataset]. In: PANGAEA Data Publisher for Earth & Environmental Science. Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) and the Center for Marine Environmental Sciences, University of Bremen (MARUM) 10.1594/PANGAEA.902577
Sigl, Michael (2019). Volcanic synchronization GISP2 versus NEEM(2011-S1) on the NS1-2011 timescale [Dataset]. In: PANGAEA Data Publisher for Earth & Environmental Science. Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) and the Center for Marine Environmental Sciences, University of Bremen (MARUM) 10.1594/PANGAEA.900750
Plunkett, Gill; Sigl, Michael; Pilcher, Jonathan R.; McConnell, Joseph R.; Chellman, Nathan; Steffensen, J.P.; Büntgen, Ulf (2020). Smoking guns and volcanic ash: the importance of sparse tephras in Greenland ice cores. Polar research, 39 Norwegian Polar Institute 10.33265/polar.v39.3511
McConnell, Joseph R.; Sigl, Michael; Plunkett, Gill; Burke, Andrea; Kim, Woon Mi; Raible, Christoph C.; Wilson, Andrew I.; Manning, Joseph G.; Ludlow, Francis; Chellman, Nathan J.; Innes, Helen M.; Yang, Zhen; Larsen, Jessica F.; Schaefer, Janet R.; Kipfstuhl, Sepp; Mojtabavi, Seyedhamidreza; Wilhelms, Frank; Opel, Thomas; Meyer, Hanno and Steffensen, Jørgen Peder (2020). Extreme climate after massive eruption of Alaska’s Okmok volcano in 43 BCE and effects on the late Roman Republic and Ptolemaic Kingdom. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America - PNAS, 117(27), pp. 15443-15449. National Academy of Sciences NAS 10.1073/pnas.2002722117
Svensson, Anders; Dahl-Jensen, Dorthe; Steffensen, Jørgen Peder; Blunier, Thomas; Rasmussen, Sune O.; Vinther, Bo M.; Vallelonga, Paul; Capron, Emilie; Gkinis, Vasileios; Cook, Eliza; Kjær, Helle Astrid; Muscheler, Raimund; Kipfstuhl, Sepp; Wilhelms, Frank; Stocker, Thomas F.; Fischer, Hubertus; Adolphi, Florian; Erhardt, Tobias; Sigl, Michael; Landais, Amaelle; ... (2020). Bipolar volcanic synchronization of abrupt climate change in Greenland and Antarctic ice cores during the last glacial period. Climate of the past, 16(4), pp. 1565-1580. Copernicus Publications 10.5194/cp-16-1565-2020
Büntgen, Ulf; Arseneault, Dominique; Boucher, Étienne; Churakova (Sidorova), Olga V.; Gennaretti, Fabio; Crivellaro, Alan; Hughes, Malcolm K.; Kirdyanov, Alexander V.; Klippel, Lara; Krusic, Paul J.; Linderholm, Hans W.; Ljungqvist, Fredrik C.; Ludescher, Josef; McCormick, Michael; Myglan, Vladimir S.; Nicolussi, Kurt; Piermattei, Alma; Oppenheimer, Clive; Reinig, Frederick; Sigl, Michael; ... (2020). Prominent role of volcanism in Common Era climate variability and human history. Dendrochronologia, 64, p. 125757. Elsevier 10.1016/j.dendro.2020.125757
Smith, Victoria C.; Costa, Antonio; Aguirre-Díaz, Gerardo; Pedrazzi, Dario; Scifo, Andrea; Plunkett, Gill; Poret, Mattieu; Tournigand, Pierre-Yves; Miles, Dan; Dee, Michael W.; McConnell, Joseph R.; Sunyé-Puchol, Ivan; Harris, Pablo Dávila; Sigl, Michael; Pilcher, Jonathan R.; Chellman, Nathan; Gutiérrez, Eduardo (2020). The magnitude and impact of the 431 CE Tierra Blanca Joven eruption of Ilopango, El Salvador. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America - PNAS, 117(42), pp. 26061-26068. National Academy of Sciences NAS 10.1073/pnas.2003008117
Abbott, Peter M.; Plunkett, Gill; Corona, Christophe; Chellman, Nathan J.; McConnell, Joseph R.; Pilcher, John R.; Stoffel, Markus; Sigl, Michael (2021). Cryptotephra from the Icelandic Veiðivötn 1477 CE eruption in a Greenland ice core: confirming the dating of volcanic events in the 1450s CE and assessing the eruption's climatic impact. Climate of the past, 17(2), pp. 565-585. Copernicus Publications 10.5194/cp-17-565-2021
Cole‐Dai, Jihong; Ferris, David G.; Kennedy, Joshua A.; Sigl, Michael; McConnell, Joseph R.; Fudge, T. J.; Geng, Lei; Maselli, Olivia J.; Taylor, Kendrick C.; Souney, Joseph M. (2021). Comprehensive Record of Volcanic Eruptions in the Holocene (11,000 years) From the WAIS Divide, Antarctica Ice Core. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 126(7) American Geophysical Union 10.1029/2020JD032855
Buizert, Christo; Fudge, T. J.; Roberts, William H. G.; Steig, Eric J.; Sherriff-Tadano, Sam; Ritz, Catherine; Lefebvre, Eric; Edwards, Jon; Kawamura, Kenji; Oyabu, Ikumi; Motoyama, Hideaki; Kahle, Emma C.; Jones, Tyler R.; Abe-Ouchi, Ayako; Obase, Takashi; Martin, Carlos; Corr, Hugh; Severinghaus, Jeffrey P.; Beaudette, Ross; Epifanio, Jenna A.; ... (2021). Antarctic surface temperature and elevation during the Last Glacial Maximum. Science, 372(6546), pp. 1097-1101. American Association for the Advancement of Science 10.1126/science.abd2897
Reinig, Frederick; Wacker, Lukas; Jöris, Olaf; Oppenheimer, Clive; Guidobaldi, Giulia; Nievergelt, Daniel; Adolphi, Florian; Cherubini, Paolo; Engels, Stefan; Esper, Jan; Land, Alexander; Lane, Christine; Pfanz, Hardy; Remmele, Sabine; Sigl, Michael; Sookdeo, Adam; Büntgen, Ulf (2021). Precise date for the Laacher See eruption synchronizes the Younger Dryas. Nature, 595(7865), pp. 66-69. Springer Nature 10.1038/s41586-021-03608-x
Sigl, Michael; Toohey, Matthew; McConnell, Joseph R.; Cole-Dai, Jihong; Severi, Mirko (2021). HolVol: Reconstructed volcanic stratospheric sulfur injections and aerosol optical depth for the Holocene (9500 BCE to 1900 CE) [Dataset]. In: PANGAEA. 10.1594/PANGAEA.928646
Sigl, Michael; McConnell, Joseph R. (2021). WAIS Divide Ice-Core Volcanic Sulfate from 12.68 to 13.20 ka BP [Dataset]. In: PANGAEA. 10.1594/PANGAEA.930520
Kim, Woon Mi; Blender, Richard; Sigl, Michael; Messmer, Martina; Raible, Christoph C. (2021). Statistical characteristics of extreme daily precipitation during 1501 BCE–1849 CE in the Community Earth System Model. Climate of the past, 17(5), pp. 2031-2053. Copernicus Publications 10.5194/cp-17-2031-2021
Abbott, P. M.; Niemeier, U.; Timmreck, C.; Riede, F.; McConnell, J.R.; Severi, M.; Fischer, H.; Svensson, A.; Toohey, M.; Reinig, F.; Sigl, M. (2021). Volcanic climate forcing preceding the inception of the Younger Dryas: Implications for tracing the Laacher See eruption. Quaternary science reviews, 274, p. 107260. Elsevier 10.1016/j.quascirev.2021.107260
Gao, Chaochao; Ludlow, Francis; Matthews, John A.; Stine, Alexander R.; Robock, Alan; Pan, Yuqing; Breen, Richard; Nolan, Brianán; Sigl, Michael (2021). Volcanic climate impacts can act as ultimate and proximate causes of Chinese dynastic collapse. Communications earth & environment, 2(1) Springer Nature 10.1038/s43247-021-00284-7
Dallmeyer, Anne; Claussen, Martin; Lorenz, Stephan J.; Sigl, Michael; Toohey, Matthew; Herzschuh, Ulrike (2021). Holocene vegetation transitions and their climatic drivers in MPI-ESM1.2. Climate of the past, 17(6), pp. 2481-2513. Copernicus Publications 10.5194/cp-17-2481-2021
Plunkett, Gill; Sigl, Michael; Schwaiger, Hans F.; Tomlinson, Emma L.; Toohey, Matthew; McConnell, Joseph R.; Pilcher, Jonathan R.; Hasegawa, Takeshi; Siebe, Claus (2022). No evidence for tephra in Greenland from the historic eruption of Vesuvius in 79 CE: implications for geochronology and paleoclimatology. Climate of the past, 18(1), pp. 45-65. Copernicus Publications 10.5194/cp-18-45-2022
Sigl, Michael; McConnell, Joseph R. (2022). NEEM-2011-S1 ice-core aerosol record (conductivity, NH4, NO3, BC, acidity, Na, Mg, S, Ca, Mn, Sr, Ce) in NW-Greenland at 2 cm resolution from 86-1997 CE on the annual-layer counted NS1-2011 chronology [Dataset]. In: PANGAEA: Data Publisher for Earth & Environmental Science. 10.1594/PANGAEA.940553
Sigl, Michael; McConnell, Joseph R.; Severi, Mirko; Fischer, Hubertus (2021). Reconstructed volcanic stratospheric sulfur injections and volcanic sulfate deposition over Greenland and Antarctica for the Bølling-Allerød/Younger Dryas transition (13.20-12.80 ka BP). [Dataset]. In: PANGAEA: Data Publisher for Earth & Environmental Science. 10.1594/PANGAEA.930557
Stoffel, Markus; Corona, Christophe; Ludlow, Francis; Sigl, Michael; Huhtamaa, Heli; Garnier, Emmanuel; Helama, Samuli; Guillet, Sébastien; Crampsie, Arlene; Kleemann, Katrin; Camenisch, Chantal; McConnell, Joseph; Gao, Chaochao (2022). Climatic, weather, and socio-economic conditions corresponding to the mid-17th-century eruption cluster. Climate of the past, 18(5), pp. 1083-1108. Copernicus Publications 10.5194/cp-18-1083-2022
Pearson, Charlotte; Sigl, Michael; Burke, Andrea; Davies, Siwan; Kurbatov, Andrei; Severi, Mirko; Cole-Dai, Jihong; Innes, Helen; Albert, Paul G.; Helmick, Meredith (2022). Geochemical ice-core constraints on the timing and climatic impact of Aniakchak II (1628 BCE) and Thera (Minoan) volcanic eruptions. PNAS nexus, 1(2) Oxford University Press 10.1093/pnasnexus/pgac048
Mackay, Helen; Plunkett, Gill; Jensen, Britta J. L.; Aubry, Thomas J.; Corona, Christophe; Kim, Woon Mi; Toohey, Matthew; Sigl, Michael; Stoffel, Markus; Anchukaitis, Kevin J.; Raible, Christoph; Bolton, Matthew S. M.; Manning, Joseph G.; Newfield, Timothy P.; Di Cosmo, Nicola; Ludlow, Francis; Kostick, Conor; Yang, Zhen; Coyle McClung, Lisa; Amesbury, Matthew; ... (2022). The 852/3 CE Mount Churchill eruption: examining the potential climatic and societal impacts and the timing of the Medieval Climate Anomaly in the North Atlantic region. Climate of the past, 18(6), pp. 1475-1508. Copernicus Publications 10.5194/cp-18-1475-2022
Sigl, Michael; Toohey, Matthew; McConnell, Joseph R.; Cole-Dai, Jihong; Severi, Mirko (2022). Volcanic stratospheric sulfur injections and aerosol optical depth during the Holocene (past 11 500 years) from a bipolar ice-core array. Earth System Science Data, 14(7), pp. 3167-3196. Copernicus Publications 10.5194/essd-14-3167-2022
Jones, Tyler R; Cuffey, Kurt M; Roberts, William H G; Markle, Bradley R; Steig, Eric J; Stevens, C Max; Valdes, Paul J; Fudge, T J; Sigl, Michael; Hughes, Abigail G; Morris, Valerie; Vaughn, Bruce H; Garland, Joshua; Vinther, Bo M; Rozmiarek, Kevin S; Brashear, Chloe A; White, James W C (2023). Seasonal temperatures in West Antarctica during the Holocene. Nature, 613(7943), pp. 292-297. Springer Nature 10.1038/s41586-022-05411-8
Plunkett, Gill; Sigl, Michael; McConnell, Joseph R.; Pilcher, Jonathan R.; Chellman, Nathan J. (2023). The significance of volcanic ash in Greenland ice cores during the Common Era. Quaternary science reviews, 301, p. 107936. Elsevier 10.1016/j.quascirev.2022.107936
Arosio, Tito; Affolter, Stéphane; Nicolussi, Kurt; Sigl, Michael; Ziehmer-Wenz, Malin Michelle; Schlüchter, Christian; Schaad, Emmanuel; Stähli, Rafael; Leuenberger, Markus Christian (2022). Variable Response in Alpine Tree-Ring Stable Isotopes Following Volcanic Eruptions in the Tropics and Iceland. Geosciences, 12(10), p. 371. MDPI 10.3390/geosciences12100371
Guillet, Sébastien; Corona, Christophe; Oppenheimer, Clive; Lavigne, Franck; Khodri, Myriam; Ludlow, Francis; Sigl, Michael; Toohey, Matthew; Atkins, Paul S; Yang, Zhen; Muranaka, Tomoko; Horikawa, Nobuko; Stoffel, Markus (2023). Lunar eclipses illuminate timing and climate impact of medieval volcanism. Nature, 616(7955), pp. 90-95. Springer Nature 10.1038/s41586-023-05751-z
Lin, Jiamei; Abbott, Peter M.; Sigl, Michael; Steffensen, Jørgen P.; Mulvaney, Robert; Severi, Mirko; Svensson, Anders (2023). Bipolar ice-core records constrain possible dates and global radiative forcing following the ∼74 ka Toba eruption. Quaternary science reviews, 312, p. 108162. Elsevier 10.1016/j.quascirev.2023.108162
Piva, Stephen B; Barker, Simon J; Iverson, Nels A; Winton, V Holly L; Bertler, Nancy A N; Sigl, Michael; Wilson, Colin J N; Dunbar, Nelia W; Kurbatov, Andrei V; Carter, Lionel; Charlier, Bruce L A; Newnham, Rewi M (2023). Volcanic glass from the 1.8 ka Taupō eruption (New Zealand) detected in Antarctic ice at ~ 230 CE. Scientific Reports, 13(1), p. 16720. Nature Publishing Group 10.1038/s41598-023-42602-3
Hopcroft, Peter O.; Valdes, Paul J.; Shuman, Bryan N.; Toohey, Matthew; Sigl, Michael (2023). Relative importance of forcings and feedbacks in the Holocene temperature conundrum. Quaternary science reviews, 319, p. 108322. Elsevier 10.1016/j.quascirev.2023.108322
Burke, Andrea; Innes, Helen M.; Crick, Laura; Anchukaitis, Kevin J.; Byrne, Michael P.; Hutchison, William; McConnell, Joseph R.; Moore, Kathryn A.; Rae, James W. B.; Sigl, Michael; Wilson, Rob (2023). High sensitivity of summer temperatures to stratospheric sulfur loading from volcanoes in the Northern Hemisphere. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America - PNAS, 120(47) National Academy of Sciences NAS 10.1073/pnas.2221810120
Fang, Shih‐Wei; Sigl, Michael; Toohey, Matthew; Jungclaus, Johann; Zanchettin, Davide; Timmreck, Claudia (2023). The Role of Small to Moderate Volcanic Eruptions in the Early 19th Century Climate. Geophysical Research Letters, 50(22) American Geophysical Union 10.1029/2023GL105307

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