Scientists are considering cooling the planet by spreading aerosols, and studying volcanoes is a big key to that.
As we reported recently, scientists are exploring an extraordinary proposal to cool the Earth using aerosols, and want to study the next global volcanic eruption to see how that might work. To fully understand this remarkable possibility to combat global warming caused by climate change, it is informative to look back in the history of our planet and the huge effect volcanoes have had.
The concern that scientists have today is that our planet is warming at an alarming rate due to mankind’s activities that are damaging the planet through climate change. Such global warming would lead to droughts, more violent storms, disease, and generally tremendous upheaval across our entire planet that could devastate the human race and all the other species, scientists theorize.
The big question is how to cool our planet, and it is not an easy one at all. The most common solution has been to cut back on carbon emissions, which has been a difficult thing to sell on a global scale, and many experts are wondering if that is even too late to stop the devastating effects of global warming. It has also been a tough sell politically, with U.S. President Donald Trump denying that global warming even exists and yanking the United States, one of the biggest polluters, out of the climate accord.
That is what makes this latest proposal rather interesting, as it would not necessarily require such massive global cooperation on a politically unpopular subject. By studying volcanic eruptions, scientists hope they could understand how they spread aerosols, which act as a reflector and send solar radiation back into space.
The most recent incident was in 1991, when Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines exploded and caused global temperatures to fall by nearly a full degree Fahrenheit for two whole years.
There is a term for such phenomena in Earth’s history, and it is “volcanic winter.” Volcanic ash and droplets of sulfuric acid and water obscure the sun and result in long-term cooling effects.
Another fairly recent incident happened in 1883 with the explosion of Krakatoa. The huge explosion resulted in a powerful volcanic winter for the planet for around four years, with record snowfalls recorded around the in the years that followed.
Scientists also believe that the Toba catastrophe about 75,000 years ago was caused by a supervolcano eruption that resulted in a severe volcanic winter, perhaps lasting for a thousand years.