25 Aug 2021
25 Aug 2021
Status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal ANGEO.

Estimating the impact of the 1991 Pinatubo eruption on mesospheric temperature by analyzing HALOE (UARS) temperature data

Sandra Wallis, Christoph Gregor Hoffmann, and Christian von Savigny Sandra Wallis et al.
  • Institute of Physics, University of Greifswald, Greifswald, Germany

Abstract. The Mt. Pinatubo eruption in 1991 had a severe impact on the Earth system with a well-documented warming of the tropical lower stratosphere and a general cooling of the surface. This study focuses on the impact of this event on the mesosphere by analyzing solar occultation temperature data from the Halogen Occultation Experiment (HALOE) instrument on the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS). Previous analysis of lidar temperature data found positive temperature anomalies of up to 12.9 K in the upper mesosphere that peaked in 1993 and were attributed to the Pinatubo eruption. Fitting the HALOE data according to a previously published method indicates a maximum warming of the mesosphere region of 3.3 K and does not confirm significantly higher values reported for that lidar time series. An alternative fit is proposed that assumes a more rapid response of the mesosphere to the volcanic event and approximates the signature of the Pinatubo with an exponential decay function having an e-folding time of 6 months. It suggests a maximum warming of 5.5 K if the mesospheric perturbation is assumed to reach its peak 4 month after the eruption. We conclude that the HALOE time series probably captures the decay of a Pinatubo-induced mesospheric warming at the beginning of its measurement period.

Sandra Wallis et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on angeo-2021-50', Ellis Remsberg, 13 Nov 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Sandra Wallis, 16 Mar 2022
  • CC1: 'Comment on angeo-2021-50', Philippe Keckhut, 10 Jan 2022
    • AC2: 'Reply on CC1', Sandra Wallis, 16 Mar 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on angeo-2021-50', Anonymous Referee #2, 03 Feb 2022
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC2', Sandra Wallis, 16 Mar 2022

Sandra Wallis et al.

Sandra Wallis et al.


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Short summary
Although the 1991 eruption of Mt Pinatubo had a severe impact on earths climate, the effect of this event on the mesosphere is not well understood. We investigated satellite-borne temperature measurements from the HALOE instrument and found indications that a positive temperature anomaly is present in the tropical upper mesosphere at the beginning of the HALOE time series, which may be related to the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo.