Multiplicative error model on northern hemispheric volcanic sulfate and European temperature anomalies

Nazario Tartaglione


It is generally accepted that volcanic eruptions may have a climatic impact involving overall cooling of the troposphere, as the sulfur injected into the stratosphere is transformed into sulfate. However, it is intrinsically difficulty to distinguish this impact because of natural climate variability. In this paper, we look for a relationship between sulfate in the Northern Hemisphere (NH) and European temperature during the last 500 years using two independent data sets: stratospheric sulfate retrieved from ice cores and European seasonally and annually averaged temperature. Relationships between temperature and sulfate are obtained as a function of the season (summer and winter) and location (tropics vs extra‐tropics) one and two years after the sulfate record year. After one year, we always find a negative correlation in the winter for both tropical and extra‐tropical eruptions. A correlation value of ‐0.56 is obtained for the relationship between sulfate and annually averaged temperature anomalies after one year, and a linear regression predicts a cooling of 1 °C for an eruption of 100 Tg of sul‐ fate, an amount similar to that estimated to have been emitted by the Laki eruption in 1783.

The variability of the cooling effect after one year is evaluated by introducing a multiplicative error model for sulfate that accounts for sys‐ tematic as well as random errors in retrieved sulfate. To evaluate the impact of sulfate uncertainties on the regression slope, a resampling approach with 104 simulations is applied. Results indicate that when uncertainties in sulfate are introduced, the variability of cooling is in the order of several 10‐3 °C/Tg. Temperature anomaly uncertainties impact slope uncertainty but have little influence on slope variability.


Uncertainty; Temperature; Volcano; Climate

Full Text:




Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X