Ozone Depletion Following Future Volcanic Eruptions

Klobas, J. E., D. M. Wilmouth, D. K. Weisenstein, J. G. Anderson, and R. J. Salawitch (2017), Ozone depletion following future volcanic eruptions, Geophys. Res. Lett. 44, 7490-7499; doi: 10.1002/2017GL073972.

While explosive volcanic eruptions cause ozone loss in the current atmosphere due to an enhancement in the availability of reactive chlorine following the stratospheric injection of sulfur, future eruptions are expected to enhance total column ozone as halogen loading approaches pre-industrial levels. The timing of this shift in the impact of major volcanic eruptions on the thickness of the ozone layer is poorly known. Modeling four possible climate futures, we show that scenarios with the smallest increase in greenhouse gas concentrations lead to the greatest risk to ozone from heterogeneous chemical processing following future eruptions. We also show that the presence in the stratosphere of bromine from natural, very short-lived biogenic compounds is critically important for determining whether future eruptions will lead to ozone depletion. If volcanic eruptions inject hydrogen halides into the stratosphere, an effect not considered in current ozone assessments, potentially profound reductions in column ozone would result.