Sunday, July 12, 2015

Volcanic eruptions slow down climate change - temporarily

Space Daily via SPX: Although global concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has continuously increased over the past decade, the mean global surface temperature has not followed the same path. A team of international reseachers, KIT scientists among them, have now found an explanation for this slowing down in global warming: 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. ....

For the lowest part of the stratosphere - i. e. the layer between 10 and 16 kilometres - little information was available so far, but now the international IAGOS-CARIBIC climate project combined with satellite observations from the CALIPSO lidar provided new essential information. According to the study, the cooling effect due to volcanic eruptions was clearly underestimated by climate models used for the last Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.

Led by the University of Lund, Sweden, and supported by the NASA Langley Research Center, USA, and the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, three major German atmospheric research institutes were also involved: the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz (
MPI-C), the Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research in Leipzig (TROPOS) and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). Since more frequent volcanic eruptions and the subsequent cooling effect are only temporary the rise of Earths' temperature will speed up again. The reason is the still continuously increasing greenhouse gas concentration, the scientists say.

..."Overall our results emphasize that even smaller volcanic eruptions are more important for the Earth's climate than expected", summarize CARIBIC coordinators Dr. Carl Brenninkmeijer, MPI-C, and Dr. Andreas Zahn, KIT. The IAGOS-CARIBIC observatory was coordinated and operated by the MPI-C until the end of 2014, since then by the KIT....

Unknown 1830 painting of an eruption in Italy, a Wellcome Image, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license

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