Volcanic Aerosols and Lunar Eclipses

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Science  02 Dec 1983:
Vol. 222, Issue 4627, pp. 1011-1013
DOI: 10.1126/science.222.4627.1011


The moon is visible during total lunar eclipses due to sunlight refracted into the earth's shadow by the atmosphere. Stratospheric aerosols can profoundly affect the brightness of the eclipsed moon. Observed brightnesses of 21 lunar eclipses during 1960-1982 are compared with theoretical calculations based on refraction by an aerosol-free atmosphere to yield globally averaged aerosol optical depths. Results indicate the global aerosol loading from the 1982 eruption of El Chichón is similar in magnitude to that from the 1963 Agung eruption.

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