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Do volcanic eruptions affect climate? Sulfur gases may cause coolingThe relationship between volcanic eruptions on earth and the observed climatic changes is investigated. The results of the comparison and analyses of volcanologic and climatologic data sets for the years between 1880 and 1980 indicate that changes in temperature caused by even of the largest eruptions recorded during this time were about the same as normal variations in temperature. However, when temperature records for several months or years preceding and following a given eruption were analyzed, a statistically significant temperature decrease of 0.2-0.5 C was found for the periods of one to two years immediately following some of the 19th and 20th century explosive events that prodiced large aerosol clouds (e.g., Krakatau and Agung eruptions). It is suggested that the content of sulfur in the erupted magma determines the size of aerosol cloud producing the cooling effect.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Self, Stephen (Texas, University Arlington, United States)
Rampino, Michael R. (NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies; New York University NY, United States)
Date Acquired
August 14, 2013
Publication Date
September 1, 1988
Publication Information
Publication: Earth in Space
Volume: 1
ISSN: 1040-3124
Subject Category
Distribution Limits