European and Mediterranean hydroclimate responses to tropical volcanic forcing over the last millennium

M. P. Rao, B. I. Cook, E. R. Cook, R. D. D'Arrigo, P. J. Krusic, K. J. Anchukaitis, A. N. LeGrande, B. M. Buckley, N. K. Davi, C. Leland, K. L. Griffin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Volcanic eruptions have global climate impacts, but their effect on the hydrologic cycle is poorly understood. We use a modified version of superposed epoch analysis, an eruption year list collated from multiple data sets, and seasonal paleoclimate reconstructions (soil moisture, precipitation, geopotential heights, and temperature) to investigate volcanic forcing of spring and summer hydroclimate over Europe and the Mediterranean over the last millennium. In the western Mediterranean, wet conditions occur in the eruption year and the following 3 years. Conversely, northwestern Europe and the British Isles experience dry conditions in response to volcanic eruptions, with the largest moisture deficits in posteruption years 2 and 3. The precipitation response occurs primarily in late spring and early summer (April–July), a pattern that strongly resembles the negative phase of the East Atlantic Pattern. Modulated by this mode of climate variability, eruptions force significant, widespread, and heterogeneous hydroclimate responses across Europe and the Mediterranean.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5104-5112
Number of pages9
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 28 2017


  • East Atlantic Pattern
  • Old World Drought Atlas
  • Palmer Drought Severity Index
  • Stratospheric aerosols
  • Superposed Epoch Analysis
  • tree-rings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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