Climatic Change

, Volume 83, Issue 4, pp 515–521 | Cite as

Three centuries of observation of stratospheric transparency

  • Richard B. Stothers


A chronology of stratospheric aerosol optical depth for the period 1671–1881 is derived from total lunar eclipse colors. It is compared with available proxy time series for the same period and with more refined data for more recent years. Contrary to previous speculations, the stratosphere from 1671 to 1881 seems to have been mostly undisturbed volcanically, with only two or three eruptions having injected into it truly significant amounts of aerosol-producing and climate-altering sulfur gases. It is confirmed that the full record for 1671–2000 shows a marked, though possibly quasiregular, ∼80 year periodicity in stratospheric aerosol optical depth, which appears also in polar ice-core acidity records and in volcanic eruption frequencies.


Volcanic Eruption Aerosol Optical Depth Stratospheric Aerosol Volcanic Explosivity Index Large Eruption 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NASA Goddard Institute for Space StudiesNew YorkUSA

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