According to the report of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Climate Change (IPCC), the cooling generated by massive volcanic eruptions could increase 15% in the coming years. In this sense, a study carried out by the journal Science indicated, in the face of global warming, these volcanic eruptions could represent a greater cooling, with temperature reductions up to 0.5 degrees centigrade (° C).
Before the onset of human-generated global warming, volcanoes were the most relevant climate participant, the journal study indicated. According to Thomas Aubry, a geophysicist at the University of Cambridge, this is due to the large amounts of sulfates that limit solar radiation and allow atmospheric cooling. Some massive volcanoes can cause entire seasons to disappear in some countries, such as the Philippines, whose Pinatubo eruption caused 5 years without a summer in the region, he said.
Cambridge scientists added, the human impact on climate change affects volcanic activity. As glaciers and the rest of the ice melt at the poles, volcanic eruptions in those regions increase, and interact with other underwater volcanoes. The material expelled by the eruptions of emerging volcanoes will increase the total amount of sulfates from small, medium or massive volcanoes, so analyzing their impact will be key.
According to the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the planet retains twice as much solar radiation and heat as 14 years ago, mainly due to carbon emissions. Aubry’s team commented for Science, this effect expands the troposphere, but cools the outer layers of the atmosphere and facilitates the movement of suspended particles. With respect to volcanic eruptions, only massive volcanoes have the ability to expel material that reaches the limit of the troposphere and affects the outer layers. However, in the case of the poles, smaller eruptions exceed this layer, while its thickness is reduced in that part of the earth.
In the midst of the crisis due to global warming, with effects as diverse as torrential rains and massive migration of species, the effect of volcanoes has become more important. These investigations raise more questions than answers, especially regarding the cooling capacity of smaller volcanoes whose sulfates do not leave the troposphere, added the geophysicist. Likewise, the new IPCC estimates indicate a range of increase in global temperature of 2.5 to 4 ° C, compared to the forecast of 1.5 to 4.5 ° C. This factor complicates the estimate of troposphere expansion, future of glaciers, and thermal impact of volcanic eruptions.
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