Volcanic aerosols and interannual variation of high clouds

Naihui Song, David O.C. Starr, Donald J Wuebbles, Allen Williams, Susan M Larson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Interannual variability of high-level cloudiness (HC) is examined using global outgoing longwave radiation (OLR). Variations of HC are analyzed versus a measure of global stratospheric aerosol amount and an El Nino index. Volcanic aerosols are apparently associated with widespread increases of up to 10% in an OLR-based HC index. The most significant effects occurred in middle latitudes and persisted for several years after major eruptions. El Nino is found to be associated with decreased cloud activity in the subtropics. This study suggests that volcanic aerosols can significantly modify global cloudiness, and that stratospheric aerosol loading can be an important variable controlling the interannual variations of high level clouds and climate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number96GL02372
Pages (from-to)2657-2660
Number of pages4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number19
StatePublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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