Volcanic eruptions might have slowed down global warming, claims study

Although volcanic eruptions are dangerous and can take many lives apart from injuring but they have injected particulates into the atmosphere which might have played a vital role in slowing down global warming, says a new study. According to the study authors, volcanic eruptions have acted as a natural umbrella to slow down the effect of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide (CO2) and global rise in temperature in the past decade.

A team of international researchers, including Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) scientists, said that the world has seen a significant rise in the concentration of greenhouse gases over the last ten years however, the mean surface temperature hasn’t followed the same curve. The variation in concentration rise and temperature rise had troubled the study authors for many years, but they believe they found an explanation that could answer for such variations.

While explaining, researchers said that the incoming solar radiation in the years 2008-2011 was twice as much reflected by volcanic aerosol particles in the lowest part of the stratosphere than previously thought.

Scientists further explained that the notion of volcanic eruptions playing a significant role in cooling isn’t new, however, in a report presented by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) it was showed through climate models that cooling effect due to volcanic eruptions is negligible. Now, the study authors say that clearly IPCC underestimated it, however, the cooling effect is temporary and the rise of Earth’s temperature will speed up again due to continuously rising greenhouse gas concentration.

For the study, researchers used data from the tropopause region up to 35 km altitude. After analysing the data, researchers concluded that smaller volcanic eruptions are crucial for Earth’s climate than expected. The study authors also noted that due to presence of volcanic aerosol particles in the atmosphere, the average surface temperature over the northern mid-latitude continents did increase only slightly in the 21st century.

The study appeared in the journal Nature Communications.

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