Enhanced Stratospheric Aerosols from Fukutoku-Okanoba Eruption


Did you know active volcanoes lie beneath the ocean’s surface?

The Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment (SAGE) III on the International Space Station (ISS) instrument spotted remnants of the Fukutoku-Okanoba undersea volcanic 2021 eruption in Earth’s stratosphere.

Fukutoku-Okanoba erupted vigorously in the Philippine Sea on Aug. 13, 2021. Although the volcano's summit is approximately 80 feet under water, the powerful eruption was still forceful enough to send ash and sulfate aerosol particles high above the sea's surface and well up into the lower stratosphere at an altitude of approximately 16 km. While SAGE III was not measuring in the immediate vicinity to capture data at the time of the eruption, SAGE III observations passed through the same latitude one week later, and measurements discerned a new aerosol layer in the lower stratosphere.

These are important observations for SAGE III to make, because they help scientists understand global climate change better. Stratospheric aerosols such as these act to cool the Earth’s surface by reflecting sunlight back to space.

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Image via NASA Langley Research Center