Volcanic mountains

Volcanic eruptions, ash will cool further due to climate change: study

While the effects of global climate change are fully visible across the globe, scientists believe the climate crisis may also amplify the atmospheric cooling effects of single volcanic eruptions while reducing the impact of smaller eruptions, a researcher revealed on Thursday. new search.

Scientists at Cambridge University and the UK Met Office have examined how rising temperatures are likely to affect ash and gases blown into the atmosphere by volcanoes.

The emerging “feedback loops” between climate change and eruptions were not taken into account in this week’s landmark scientific report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said lead author Thomas Aubry of the Cambridge Geography Department.

“This could shed new light on the evolution of future volcanic influences on the climate,” he said of the study.

“Although volcanoes have a limited influence on the climate relative to human greenhouse gas emissions, they are an important part of the system.”

The research, published in the journal Nature Communications, used climate and volcanic plume models to project future changes.

He also looked at the global impact of the Mount Pinatubo eruption in the Philippines in 1991, the second largest of the 20th century.

The giant plume of ash and gas generated a blanket of haze that caused global temperatures to drop to 0.5 degrees Celsius the following year.

Relatively minor impact

The study found that climate change, by warming the atmosphere, will allow future Pinatubo-sized plumes to rise even higher – blocking more sunlight, dispersing aerosols faster, and increasing the worldwide cooling effect up to 15%.

“However, the effect of volcanic aerosols only persists for one or two years, while anthropogenic greenhouse gases will affect the climate for centuries,” the researchers said.

And for smaller explosions such as the 2011 Nabro eruption in Eritrea, which tend to occur every year, the cooling effect will be reduced by around 75% in a high-end warming scenario.

“This is because the height of the tropopause – the boundary between the troposphere and the stratosphere above it – is expected to increase, making it more difficult for volcanic plumes to reach the stratosphere,” the scientists said.

“Aerosols from volcanic plumes confined to the troposphere are washed away by precipitation within weeks, making their climate impacts relatively minor and much more localized.”

Human activities have already warmed global temperatures by more than 1 degree Celsius since 1850 and according to IPCC projections the world is on track to reach 1.5 degree Celsius of warming by 2030, a decade earlier than expected.

This assumes that there will be no major volcanic eruption in the next decade, according to the UN report, while stressing that any cooling effect will be temporary.

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