Determination of the atmospheric optical depth due to the El Chichon stratospheric aerosol cloud in the polluted atmosphere of Mexico City

IGNACIO GALINDO, KIRILL YA KONDRATYEV, GERARDO ZENTENO

Abstract

Direct solar radiation measurements were used to determine the aerosol optical depth (AOD) increase associated with the presence of aerosol and large particles (ash) originating from the 28 March to 4 April 1982 El Chichón eruptions (17.5ºN, 93.3ºW; Mexico) on Mexico City's polluted atmospheric aerosol layer. The results are compared with those obtained at Vancouver, British Columbia, revealing that a first AOD increase occurred in both locations during May, June, and July 1982. However, the Mexico City AOD decay is more extended, not reaching normal climatological values until February 1983. Meanwhile, Vancouver's AOD reached minimum values in September 1982, which subsequently increased over a period from October 1982 to September 1983. This secondary maximum was recorded in Mexico City from March to August 1983. Results suggest that the first AOD increases in May, June and July 1982, both at Vancouver and Mexico City, are due chiefly to short life-time volcanic ash particles being located near the surface. However, the second AOD increases, associated with anomalously colored twilights, corresponds to stratospheric volcanic aerosols.

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