Solar radiative forcing at selected locations and evidence for global lower tropospheric cooling following the eruptions of El Chichón and Pinatubo



As a result of the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo (June 1991), direct solar radiation was observed to decrease by as much as 25–30% at four remote locations widely distributed in latitude. The average total aerosol optical depth for the first 10 months after the Pinatubo eruption at those sites is 1.7 times greater than that observed following the 1982 eruption of El Chichón. Monthly-mean clear-sky total solar irradiance at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, decreased by as much as 5% and averaged 2.4% and 2.7% in the first 10 months after the El Chichón and Pinatubo eruptions, respectively. By September 1992 the global and northern hemispheric lower tropospheric temperatures had decreased 0.5°C and 0.7°C, respectively compared to pre-Pinatubo levels. The temperature record examined consists of globally uniform observations from satellite microwave sounding units.