Volcanic eruption in Iceland can inhibit, but not cancel the trend of global warming

Olga Senova, Alexander Fedorov

Eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in the south of Iceland began on the night of April 14, 2010. Volcanic ash cloud moves at the height of more than 10 km at a speed of 35 km per hour, covering the countries of Europe and reaching the east of the Ural Mountains.

At a strong volcanic eruption, a cloud of volcanic dust is released into the stratosphere to a height of 15-55 kilometers and can remain there for up to two years and contribute to colder climate.

After the strongest eruption of Krakatoa in 1883, the shroud of volcanic dust enveloped the entire planet, which has led to a decrease in the amount of solar radiation reaching the Earth's surface and global cooling at 1.2 degrees Celsius..

The Penatubo volcanic eruption in 1991 in the Philippines resulted in bringing so much ash at the height of 35 kilometers that the average level of solar radiation decreased by 2.5 W / sq m, which corresponds to global cooling by at least 0.5-0.7 degrees

Finnish weather forecasters think that Eyjafjallajokull is not so strong as compared to the volcanoes mentioned above, and its dust cloud is fairly close to the ground. Icelandic professor of geophysics Magnus Tumi Gudmundsson has another opinion. He believes that everything indicates that the volcano would erupt for a long time, with strong influence on the climate.

Scientists believe that volcanic clouds containing sulfur dioxide may reflect some sunlight, and this will contribute to cooling. Opponents of the global warming theory again stand out with arguments against the active climate policy of countries, aimed at reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.

Indeed, major volcanic eruptions belong to the natural processes that may affect the planet's climate. But the influence of volcanic eruptions on climate fades within a few years, and the global trend of global warming continues.

The massive volcanic eruption in Iceland, of course, can have an impact on climate. Alexei Kokorin, the head of WWF-Russia Climate Programme, said that the eruption "could inhibit rising global temperatures on Earth for a couple of years. We must remember the eruption of Tambora in Indonesia in 1815, which lowered the average global temperature by 3 degrees Celsius ... At the same time, the eruption did not stop the growth of concentration of "man-made" greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. "So, through these few years we will wait for the sharp rise in temperature, as it was following the eruption Penatubo in 1991 and El Chichón in 1984: temperature "freezes" or even gets lower, and then jumps to catch up. Despite volcanic activity, the last decade of the twentieth century was the warmest in the millennium."

The most active are constantly erupting Mount Etna (Sicily), Popokatepel (Mexico), the volcano Mount Erebus (Antarctica), with an enduring lava in the crater lake, Saint Augustine (Alaska, USA), Krakatoa (Indonesia) known for its catastrophic eruption, the symbol of Japan Mount Fuji volcano, and others.

Volcanic eruptions are natural factors that people cannot influence. But this fact should not cancel actions of politicians and ordinary people to prevent changes in the nature and climate, which may be caused by human activities, - believes the Climate Secretariat of the Russian Socio-Ecological Union.