AGU Chapman Conference on Stratospheric aerosol in the post-Pinatubo era: Processes, Interactions, and Importance

18.03 - 23.03.2018  
Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife, Spain

The AGU Chapman Conference on Stratospheric aerosol in the post-Pinatubo era: Processes, Interactions, and Importance will be held in Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife, Spain, from 18-23 March 2018.


Hotel Botanico
Puerto de la Cruz
Tenerife, Spain


Stratospheric aerosol, a persistent yet highly variable component of the stratosphere, has impacts on radiation and stratospheric ozone, and thus climate. Since the 1960s the study of stratospheric aerosol has been substantially influenced by the large volcanic eruptions of: Agung, Fuego, El Chichón, and Pinatubo. This paradigm of decadal major volcanic eruptions changed after Pinatubo in 1991. Since then, no volcanic eruptions have had similar magnitudes and in most cases the stratospheric signature was lost within one year.

The period following Pinatubo to the present overlaps with a golden age for stratospheric aerosol and gas phase sulfur measurements from satellites, aircraft, balloons, and the ground, representing an optimum period for testing climate models that use prescribed stratospheric aerosol and gas phase sulfur, and those that use surface emissions and calculate stratospheric aerosol and gas phase sulfur.

Historically such a period of quiescent to mild volcanism is perhaps more common than the active volcanism of the 1960s through the 1990s, and is more suited to study troposphere-to-stratosphere transport, background stratospheric chemistry, trends in stratospheric sulfate aerosol, and the sources and potential climate impact of non-sulfate stratospheric aerosol.


This Chapman Conference will be focused on addressing the following scientific questions that have grown out of this period of observations.

1)   What sources (volcanic, natural non-volcanic, and anthropogenic) and processes have controlled stratospheric aerosol levels since the decay of the Mt. Pinatubo aerosol?

2)   How do the observed variations in stratospheric aerosol, over the recent quiescent and mild volcanic period, impact climate and the composition of the stratosphere?

3)   How well do we understand the sulfur budget over the “golden period” of stratospheric observations, in the post-Pinatubo era?

4)   What is the role of non-sulfate aerosol in the stratosphere and how much does it change the current sulfate-dominated picture of stratospheric aerosol?

5)   How well do the global aerosol climatologies, derived primarily from satellite measurements, capture the climate relevant quantities during the quiescent to mild volcanic period?

6)  How well do models represent the stratospheric aerosol over quiescent to mild volcanic periods?

Format and Schedule

After a Sunday evening ice breaker, the conference will span five full days. The schedule on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday will consist of a plenary morning session of invited and contributed talks, afternoons free for both organized and informal meetings and discussions, a keynote speaker after dinner and then a poster session. On Wednesday, there is a full day field trip to the cinder cone of Pico de Teide and to the Izaña Atmospheric Observatory. On Friday, the morning will include invited and contributed talks. The keynote talk will follow lunch and then a formal plenary discussion to review our progress on, and understanding of, the six main science questions before closing in the late afternoon.

These questions fall into the following main thematic sessions:

- How well do we understand, in volcanically quiescent periods, the sources, both gas and particle phase, of stratospheric aerosol, and the influence of non-sulfate aerosol and precursors?
- What are the climate impacts of stratospheric aerosol during non-volcanic periods?
- How well do global stratospheric aerosol climatologies capture the measurement record and the climate relevant quantities during volcanically quiescent periods?
- How well do models represent stratospheric aerosol and its climate impacts for models with prescribed aerosol climatologies and those with derived aerosol?

The thematic sessions will include invited and contributed papers. The sessions will be interdisciplinary and combine presentations of the modern stratospheric aerosol observations, the challenges in maintaining this record, the aerosol climatologies constructed from the record, the extrapolation of this record, and the use of these records in global climate models.

Keynote and Invited Speakers

Marc von Hobe - Do we understand the sources of stratospheric sulfur?
Nick Krotkov - SO2 emissions from erupting and degassing volcanoes and anthropogenic sources
Stefan Borrmann - Exchange between upper tropospheric and lower stratospheric aerosol
Michael Hoepfner - Gas phase measurements of stratospheric sulfur
Christian von Savigny - Comparing aerosol measurements of the post-Pinatubo era from different platforms
Tom Peter - The basis and development of the CMIP6 stratospheric aerosol climatology
Michael Sigl - Paleoclimate reconstructions of volcanism. How common is the current period in terms of volcanic activity?
Anja Schmidt - Comparison of models and measurements in the post-Pinatubo era
Ben Santer - Changes in stratospheric composition and impact on chemistry and climate - The role of volcanic aerosol on global temperature trends
Brian Toon - Impact of stratospheric aerosol on future climate and possible feedbacks


The abstract submission deadline is 8 November. Read more about how to submit abstracts here:

Further information

Go to the conference website: