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Earth System Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
02 Feb 2018
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of this manuscript was accepted for the journal Earth System Dynamics (ESD) and is expected to appear here in due course.
Assessing the Impact of a Future Volcanic Eruption on Decadal Predictions
Sebastian Illing1, Christopher Kadow1, Holger Pohlmann2, and Claudia Timmreck2 1Freie Universität Berlin, Institute of Meteorology, Berlin, Germany
2Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany
Abstract. The likelihood of a large volcanic eruption in the future provides the largest uncertainty concerning the evolution of the climate system on the time scale of a few years; but also an excellent opportunity to learn about the behavior of the climate system, and our models thereof. So the question emerges how predictable is the response of the climate system to future eruptions? By this we mean, to what extent will the volcanic perturbation affect decadal climate predictions and how does the pre-eruption climate state influence the impact of the volcanic signal on the predictions? To address these questions, we performed decadal forecasts with the MiKlip prediction system in the low-resolution configuration for the initialization years 2012 and 2014, which differ in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) phase among other things. Each forecast contains an artificial Pinatubo-like eruption starting in June of the first prediction year. For the construction of the aerosol radiative forcing, we used the global aerosol model ECHAM5-HAM in a version adapted for volcanic eruptions. We investigate the response of different climate variables, including near-surface air temperature, precipitation, frost days, and sea ice area fraction. Our results show that the average global cooling response over four years of about 0.2 K and the precipitation decrease of about 0.025 mm/day, is relatively robust throughout the different experiments and seemingly independent of the initialization state. However, on a regional scale, we find substantial differences between the initializations. The cooling effect in the North Atlantic and Europe lasts longer and the Arctic sea ice increase is stronger than in the simulations initialized in 2014. In contrast, the forecast initialized with a negative PDO shows a prolonged cooling in the North Pacific basin.
Citation: Illing, S., Kadow, C., Pohlmann, H., and Timmreck, C.: Assessing the Impact of a Future Volcanic Eruption on Decadal Predictions, Earth Syst. Dynam. Discuss.,, in review, 2018.
Sebastian Illing et al.
Sebastian Illing et al.


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