Experts say Tonga volcano eruption not big enough to affect global climate – Boston News, Weather, Sports

(CNN) – While large volcanoes have the potential to affect global temperatures and weather, Saturday’s eruption near Tonga is likely not large enough to have an impact on global climate. experts told CNN.

Saturday’s Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai eruption was huge; ability biggest in 30 years, according to experts. Follow data from NASA satellite.

At that altitude, on the influence of jet streams in a layer of the atmosphere called the stratosphere, aerosols can persist for years. Crucially, once it reaches the stratosphere, SO2 will react with water and create a hazy gaseous layer that blocks sunlight from reaching the Earth’s surface and can lead to colder temperatures.

But scientists have also estimated from satellite data The total mass of SO2 from Saturday’s eruption is 0.4 teragrams – 400 million kg – of SO2, far less than what scientists think could dramatically alter global climate.

For example, the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo released 15 to 20 teragrams of SO2 into the atmosphere, resulting in a 0.6 degree Celsius (1 degree Fahrenheit) drop in global temperatures over the next 15 months, according to NASA.

Erik Klemetti, an associate professor of Geosciences at Denison University in Granville, Ohio, said sulfur dioxide spewed into the atmosphere as a result of the Hunga Tonga eruption “is much lower than the usual threshold for anything.” would have a significant impact on the overall climate.”

Klemetti’s rating is echo by other scientists on Twitter.

“If the volcano decides that it’s going to do some explosions and keep adding, that changes everything,” Klemetti told CNN. “But for now, it seems like a short-lived event that doesn’t have enough sulfur in it to have much of a climate impact.”

Klemetti notes that the Tonga eruption may have had a regional impact on temperature, although scientists are still uncertain about how important it is. Klemetti notes that this ultimately depends on how much SO2 is released into the stratosphere.

Klemetti also emphasizes that it’s not the ash that affects global temperatures and weather. He said most people assume that volcanic ash is something that reflects sunlight and affects global temperatures, but unlike aerosols, ash doesn’t stay in the atmosphere for very long. Instead, a significant amount of sulfur dioxide is required.

An ash particle is a “realistic piece of physical glass,” he said. “They are very small, but they have enough mass that they will fall out of the atmosphere pretty quickly.”

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James Brien

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