A recent study concluded that small volcanic eruptions are mostly responsible for the slower global warming that is being observed for over a decade. The newly found results perfectly matched with the previous notions that the huge quantity of ash and gases that come out when a volcano erupts; may have significant impacts as far as Earth’s climate is concerned. These materials have the capability of blocking solar radiations; thus provide a cooler climate.
The results of this study got published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. The scientists involved in the study wanted to figure out the effects of aerosol particles. Volcanic eruptions give birth to these particles that eventually fill the atmosphere.
According to the report by the International Business Times, the researches worked with balloons, laser radar and ground-based measurements to analyze the possible contributions of the vaporized particles.
According to previous reports, it was known that following strong volcanic eruptions, a gas named sulfur dioxide releases to a great quantity. Sulfur dioxide combines with oxygen to form sulfuric acid, a process that stays for a long period. Once formed, it sends back substantial amounts of sunlight from Earth and the planet gets cooler.
But this new study carried out by the eminent scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology confirmed for the first time that comparatively smaller volcanic eruptions can decrease the amount of greenhouse gases as well.
According to the report by the Discovery News, the small scale eruptions have probably reduced the rate of global warming by fifty percents. This observation also successfully interprets why there are lesser amounts of carbon being found on the atmosphere in the recent years.
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Since 2000, roughly the time when global warming started slowing down; a dozen of relatively smaller volcanic eruptions were identified that in all probability helped lowering the temperature by 0.05 degrees to 0.12 degrees Celsius.
“The fact that these volcanic signatures are apparent in multiple independently measured climate variables really supports the idea that they are influencing climate in spite of their moderate size,” Mark Zelinka, a Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientist and a co-author of the study, said in the statement. “If we wish to accurately simulate recent climate change in models, we cannot neglect the ability of these smaller eruptions to reflect sunlight away from Earth.”