How Volcanoes Affect Climate Change

Even though there are many naysayers in as far as the existence of climate change is concerned, the scientific world generally agrees that the global climate is changing, and for the most part it is not changing for the better. Additionally, the vast majority of leading environmental scientists reckon that the climate change we are experiencing is anthropogenic induced.

Nonetheless, nature does contribute to climate change in many ways, including through volcanic activities. Some of the effects of volcanic action can last just a few weeks while other effects can outlast a generation depending on the volcanic content released during eruptions. Herein we are going to explore just how volcanic activities influence climate change.

The Influence Solid Particles (Dust And Ash)

It is typical of a volcanic eruption to spew thousands of tons of solid particles in the form of ash and dust. These solid particles have a cooling effect on the climate surrounding the eruption. Since they reflect and disperse solar radiation, less than normal radiation is able to penetrate to the earth’s surface, thereby reducing the overall temperature of such areas. This cooling effect can last anything from just a few hours to years, depending on the proportion of small particle, which stays in the stratosphere longer thus yielding the cooling effect for much longer.

The Influence Of Greenhouse Gases

Volcanism is associated with a release of large amount of greenhouse gasses, especially in the form of water vapor and carbon dioxide. The gasses released add to the proportion of greenhouse gasses already in existence, which in the long run contributes to global warming.

The Influence Of Sulfur

Eruptions also result in the release of large amount of sulfur, which when it reaches the stratosphere forms sulfuric acid. The resulting sulfuric acid haze in the stratosphere is more effective at reflecting the sun’s rays, thus it more effective at cooling the area around the eruption.