They are scary natural disasters, which have caused global air traffic to stop, destroyed properties and even life, but small Volcanoes may also have a redeeming factor in them. According to new research, smaller volcanic eruptions around the earth have contributed in slowing the global warming phenomenon.
Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, have accepted a study by David Ridley, an atmospheric scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, which says that these eruptions have been blasting more of an atmosphere cooling in the stratosphere. The sulphur dioxide from the eruptions combines with oxygen and forms droplets of sulphuric acid, which helps in reflecting sunlight away from the Earth and lowering temperatures. This could be one of the reasons in the slowdown of the global warming in the last 15 years.
The process, which is termed as ‘ Global Warming Hiatus’ is further explained by Mr Ridley, “The effects of these smaller volcanoes is part of the solution to the warming hiatus or why the climate models didn’t predict that this was going to happen. These eruptions are happening all the time and they have been more frequent in the past 15 years.”
The study further adds that the average rate of warming dropped from .31 degrees Fahrenheit per decade between 1970 and 1998 to .072 degrees Fahrenheit per decade between 1998 and 2012. This was the result of 17 small volcanic eruptions, beginning in 2000, that spewed enough aerosols into the atmosphere to explain the disparity between climate change models and actual warming trends.
Scientists though believe that it is not just the volcanoes that contribute in the slowing of global warming. Other factor like the absorption of heat by oceans also helps in lowering of earth’s increasing temperatures.
Brain Toon, of CU-Boulder’s Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences was cautious in the finding, reminding that it is still necessary to address the global gas levels. He said, “Overall these eruptions are not going to counter the greenhouse effect. Emissions of volcanic gases go up and down, helping to cool or heat the planet, while greenhouse gas emissions from human activity just continue to go up.”
Despite the global warming hiatus, global temperatures continue to rise. According to the World Meteorological Organization, 13 of the 14 warmest years have come in this century.