Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research

Revisiting the volcanic impact on atmosphere and climate – preparations for the next big volcanic eruption

The overarching goal of the DFG research unit VolImpact is to improve our understanding of how the climate system responds to volcanic eruptions. Due to new developments in observational and modelling capabilities we will now be able to answer questions that could not be addressed before. The project combines the expertise of world leading experts in complementary disciplines, which are all necessary to accomplish the selected research objectives. This includes skills in satellite remote sensing of atmospheric composition, stratospheric aerosol parameters and clouds as well as in modelling of aerosol microphysical and cloud processes, and in climate modelling.

The research unit consists of five science projects (VolPlume, VolARC, VolCloud, VolDyn and VolClim) complemented by a coordination project (VolCoord). Scientists from seven different research institutions and universities in Germany participate in VolImpact including the universities of Bremen, Greifswald, Hamburg and Leipzig as well as the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), the Max-Planck-Institute of Meteorology in Hamburg and the Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research in Kiel. The research unit is lead by Prof. Christian von Savigny from the Institute of Physics at the University of Greifswald.

The first phase of the VolImpact research unit started in spring 2019.


Science project 1: Volcanic Plume Evolution and Injection Profiles (VolPlume)

The overarching scientific goal of the project is to better understand the role of volcanic plume development in shaping the initial fate and injection profile of the volcanogenic emissions in case of medium to large-intensity eruptions (sub-plinian and plinian). This will be achieved by a combination of advanced modelling and remote sensing techniques to address the following research questions:

1.2. How does the in-plume chemistry affect the initial fate of volcanogenic emissions reaching the upper troposphere and stratosphere?

2.What is the role of moist convection and in-plume microphysics in shaping the volcanic injection profiles and volcanogenic H2O injections into the stratosphere?

3.What is the best strategy for constructing plume height maps and 3D plume structure from satellite measurements?