Response of Earth’s Radiation Budget to a Volcanic Eruption
The response of the radiation balance to the eruption of Mount Pinatubo was directly measured with broadband radiation instruments on Earth-orbiting satellites. This allowed not only a direct confirmation of the effect of stratospheric volcanic aerosols in reducing the energy balance but also verification of the model-predicted surface cooling in response to the eruption, giving additional confidence in our ability to model climate variability and change (Hansen et al. 1992, Minnis et al. 1993, Soden et al. 2002; Figure 4.9). The stratospheric aerosols resulting from the eruption were independently measured from Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) data and Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment SAGE data (McCormick et al. 1995). This is a prime example of how the length and continuity of a given data record yields additional scientific benefits beyond the initial research results of the mission and beyond the monitoring implications for operaitonal agencies.