Volcanoes May Be Slowing Down Climate Change

Science & Space

Small volcanic eruptions might be part of the reason why the pace of global warming hasn’t kept up with previous predictions, a new study published in Nature Nature Geoscience suggests.

Eruptions of at least 17 volcanoes since 2000, including Kasatochi in Alaska and Merapi in Indonesia, seem to have had a cooling influence on the temperature of the Earth’s surface and lower atmosphere. In the past, researchers observed increases in levels of greenhouse gases and in global warming, but for the past 15 years the Earth’s surface temperatures have shown relatively little warming. This so-called ‘hiatus’ puzzled researchers around the globe have been working to understand this phenomenon. “The hiatus is a fascinating detective story,” says Benjamin Santer, the lead author of the study and an atmospheric scientist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. “What we show is that even without any computer model calculations there is a clear signal of these early…

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