Short-term cooling impact of massive volcanic eruptions increasing due to climate crisis, study suggests

But smaller eruptions are having a lesser cooling effect as our planet warms, writes Harry Cockburn

Thursday 12 August 2021 12:42
<p>Lava streams down from the Anak Krakatau volcano</p>

Lava streams down from the Anak Krakatau volcano

Cataclysmic volcanic eruptions have long been known to have had dramatic impacts on climates around the world over timeframes that sometimes last several years.

The period known as the Little Ice Age, in which average temperatures in the northern hemisphere fell from around the 14th century until the 19th century has partly been ascribed to heightened volcanic activity, while the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines, caused global temperatures to fall for 2–3 years.

But as our planet warms due to the burning of climate-altering fossil fuels, scientists have begun to look at how this process interacts with volcanic eruptions, and whether the cooling effect of volcanoes will continue to be as pronounced.

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