Articles | Volume 8, issue 5
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 8, 2069–2091, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-8-2069-2015
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 8, 2069–2091, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-8-2069-2015

Research article 19 May 2015

Research article | 19 May 2015

Big grains go far: understanding the discrepancy between tephrochronology and satellite infrared measurements of volcanic ash

J. A. Stevenson et al.

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Cited articles

Abbott, P. and Davies, S.: Volcanism and the Greenland ice-cores: the tephra record, Earth-Sci. Rev., 115, 173–191, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.earscirev.2012.09.001, 2012.
Abbott, P. M., Davies, S. M., Steffensen, J. P., Pearce, N. J. G., Bigler, M., Johnsen, S. J., Seierstad, I. K., Svensson, A., and Wastegard, S.: A detailed framework of marine isotope stages 4 and 5 volcanic events recorded in two Greenland ice-cores, Quaternary Sci. Rev., 36, 59–77, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2011.05.001, 2012.
Alfano, F., Bonadonna, C., Delmelle, P., and Costantini, L.: Insights on tephra settling velocity from morphological observations, J. Volcanol. Geoth. Res., 208, 86–98, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2011.09.013, 2011.
Bergman, J., Wastegard, S., Hammarlund, D., Wohlfarth, B., and Roberts, S.: Holocene tephra horizons at Klocka Bog, west-central Sweden: aspects of reproducibility in subarctic peat deposits, J. Quaternary Sci., 19, 241–249, https://doi.org/10.1002/jqs.833, 2004.
Blockley, S., Lane, C., Lotter, A., and Pollard, A.: Evidence for the presence of the Vedde Ash in Central Europe, Quaternary Sci. Rev., 26, 3030–3036, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2007.09.010, 2007.
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Short summary
We attempt to understand why volcanic ash grains found 100s of km from their source volcanoes (cryptotephra), which are typically 20–125 microns in length, are much larger than the size distributions measured by satellite remote sensing, which are centred at less than 10 microns. Our observations and models show that cryptotephra-sized grains are to be expected in distal plumes. Retrievals of effective radius made on simulated satellite images are shown to be biased toward smaller values.