Hotspot volcanoes

Volcanoes have little to no effect on current climate change, scientists say

Scientists say volcanoes are impacting global warming on a non-human scale, meaning the change is too slow to observe in a lifetime.

Billions of years ago, when the earth was a boiling cauldron of volcanoes and explosive gases, huge amounts of carbon dioxide were released, trapping heat as landmasses formed.

However, today the effect of volcanic emissions on the environment pales in comparison to that of human activity. In fact, recent large volcanic eruptions have been shown to have a significant cooling effect, at least temporarily, on the atmosphere.

“In 1991, Mount Pinatubo caused a cooling of about 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, an eruption in the 1700s in Iceland released a significant amount of sulfur dioxide and caused global cooling,” Caroline said. Tisdale, a volcano researcher at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa.

Volcanic eruptions can cause a short period of global cooling if they release enough sulfur dioxide (the main gas in vog) into a layer of the atmosphere called the stratosphere. Sulfur dioxide helps reflect the heat emitted by the Sun away from the Earth.

If the eruption occurred closer to the equator, global cooling may occur in the northern and southern hemispheres.

The eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines was close enough to the equator to cause a global cooling that lasted about two years.

The 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines released nearly 20 million tonnes of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere, causing global temperatures to drop by half a degree on average.

The 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines released nearly 20 million tons of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere.

While volcanoes have little or no long-term effects on current climate change, human-emitted carbon dioxide can impact volcanoes.

Kenneth Rubin, professor of volcanology and geochemistry at UH Mānoa, says climate change may have an effect on the amount of gas emitted by volcanoes.

“Each year, even when they are not erupting, volcanoes emit a lot of gases into the atmosphere. And these gases come from two sources. One is deep in the Earth, and the other comes mainly from water,” he added. said.

“Climate change has already induced changes in groundwater around the world. This ultimately affects the amount of gas emitted by volcanoes when they are not erupting. When they do erupt, the gas that comes out is primarily this deeper gas that’s probably not affected by climate,” Rubin said.

Rubin says the bottom line is that the amount of gases produced by volcanoes is negligible compared to the greenhouse gases emitted by humans.

“It’s kind of a slow, longer-term process. It could be important for future generations, but it’s probably not one of the main immediate concerns right now. There are so many other things that’s happening with human land use practices and fossil fuels and so on that are contributing much more and at much faster rates than volcanoes,” Rubin told Hawaii Public Radio.