New study says volcanic eruptions can dramatically cool the planet

March 5, 2013CLIMATE Sulfur dioxide emissions from moderate volcanoes around the world can mask some of the effects of global warming by 25 percent, a new study has found. A team led by the University of Colorado Boulder looking for clues about why Earth did not warm as much as scientists expected between 2000 and 2010 now thinks the culprits are hiding in plain sight. The study results essentially exonerate India and China, two countries that are estimated to have increased their industrial sulfur dioxide emissions by about 60 percent from 2000 to 2010 through coal burning, said lead study author Ryan Neely. Small amounts of sulfur dioxide emissions from Earth’s surface eventually rise 12 to 20 miles into the stratospheric aerosol layer of the atmosphere, where chemical reactions create sulfuric acid and water particles that reflect sunlight back to space, cooling the planet, researchers said. Neely said previous observations suggest that increases in stratospheric aerosols since 2000 have counter balanced as much as 25 per cent of the warming scientists blame on human greenhouse gas emissions. “This new study indicates it is emissions from small to moderate volcanoes that have been slowing the warming of the planet,” said Neely in the study published in journal Geophysical Research Letters. The new project was undertaken in part to resolve conflicting results of two recent studies on the origins of the sulfur dioxide in the stratosphere, including a 2009 study led by the late David Hoffman of NOAA indicating aerosol increases in the stratosphere may have come from rising emissions of sulfur dioxide from India and China. In contrast, a 2011 study led by Vernier – who also provided essential observation data for the new GRL study – showed moderate volcanic eruptions play a role in increasing particulates in the stratosphere, Neely said in a statement. “The biggest implication here is that scientists need to pay more attention to small and moderate volcanic eruptions when trying to understand changes in Earth’s climate,” said Professors Brian Toon from CU-Boulder’s Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. –Zee News
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4 Responses to New study says volcanic eruptions can dramatically cool the planet

  1. niebo says:

    “The biggest implication here is that SCIENTISTS NEED TO PAY MORE ATTENTION to small and moderate volcanic eruptions when trying to understand changes in Earth’s climate.”


    Pollution from China and India is our friend. Sulfuric acid particles are like cupcakes: a few here and there are good, but too many makes diabetes and/or acid rain. Volcanoes are actually NOT the devil, and according to one scientists, those other scientists are idiuts.


  2. Irene C says:

    Personally, I’m glad that some scientists are looking into the possibility that volcanic eruptions could have a cause and effect on climate change. Think about it, we have 40+ eruptions happening now. That’s a lot of ash going into our atmosphere.


  3. Just me says:

    Ok. Please forgive me But a “new” study. I thought we learned this in science 101!


    • Rick says:

      I distinctly recall the summer of 1992, when we had numerous beautiful sunsets and mild summer temperatures in eastern U.S. after the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo. From wikipedia:

      Global temperatures dropped by about 0.5 °C (0.9 °F), and ozone depletion temporarily increased substantially.[7]

      Don’t know why this is somehow “news” now.


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