Volcanic eruptions could be slowing global warming, and climate change here on Earth. Well, minor volcanic eruptions could be doing that. A recently-published study found that the frequent and small volcanic eruptions that are taking place on Earth might be benefiting Earth to some degree. The study conducted by scientists from MIT pointed out that while volcanic eruptions have long been known to cool the surface of the Earth – the protection the smaller eruptions are giving Earth benefit because they’re mitigating the increases in output of greenhouse gases here on Earth.
In other words, while humans on Earth might be putting out greater, and greater amounts of greenhouse gases – the small volcanic eruptions are preventing the greenhouse gases from making it to the top of our atmosphere, and doing damage to the crucial layers that prevent the sun from being filtered more effectively. The same scientists even went as far as to point out that it’s entirely likely that this could be a very logical explanation as to why climate change has slowed statistically over the last several years – even though output is at an all-time high. The last several years, the study scientists point out, has fallen beneath projections.
The study showed that it would take a stunningly small number of “small eruptions” to reduce greenhouse emissions enough to cool the Earth’s temperature by 0.12 degrees Celsius. While that may seem like a small change of temperature – over the course of decades, temperature change is typically measured in fewer than one or two degrees.
This isn’t something that is necessarily new, either. The study does point out that this was something that has been thought of, and tested before, but the impacts of the small volcanoes might be significantly greater than what anyone had thought before. As it turns out, the sulfur dioxide that is released by volcanoes when they erupt actually cause the sunlight to be blocked, and work to absorb some of the greenhouse gases that humans continue to put into the atmosphere at an astronomical rate.
This study though reminds us of the dangers that climate change poses. While this may be working to prevent some of the more aggressive climate change that could be happening, if Earth weren’t creating this natural barrier – it’s important to note that change is obviously necessary. The connection though is one that is unique to the entire concept of climate change – and a surprising benefit of volcanic eruptions.