ALTITUDE MATTERS: ASSESSMENT OF SO2 CLOUDS FROM THE 2006 ERUPTION OF NYAMURAGIRA VOLCANO (D.R. CONGO, AFRICA)
We constrained the 2006 Nyamuragira plume height using Hybrid Single-Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory (HYSPLIT), Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS), Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS), Multi-Angle Imaging Spectroradiometer (MISR), and Cloud-Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization (CALIOP) data. In addition, we aimed to refine the 2006 eruption SO2 emission estimates using ultraviolet (UV) measurements from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI). Plume height and OMI data interpretation are closely linked since the change in atmospheric properties (T, P, H2O content) with altitude affects the plume’s absorption of UV radiation. We found that the 2006 Nyamuragira eruption emitted 0.06 Mt of SO2 and the plume reached 15 km; the tropopause begins at 16-17 km at equatorial latitudes. This adds to the idea that historical effusive basaltic eruptions (e.g., Laki 1783) were capable of similar plume heights, allowing SO2 and resultant aerosols to remain longer in the atmosphere, travel farther around the globe, and affect global climate. The lower tropopause altitude (~9 km) at high latitudes indicates that less energetic basaltic eruptions are equally capable of injecting volcanic gas into the polar stratosphere.