Volcano Lancing Watch

by John J. Miller

My church is without a pope. My country is broke and sequestered. And now the vulcanologists have chosen this awful moment of vulnerability to launch a provocative attack upon the fledgling science of volcano lancing:

Erupting volcanoes offset recent Earth warming, according to a team led by the University of Colorado at Boulder. Researchers arrived at this conclusion after searching for clues about why Earth did not warm as much as climatologists expected between 2000 and 2010. …


According to Neely, tiny amounts of sulfur dioxide emissions from Earth’s surface eventually rise 12 to 20 miles into the stratospheric aerosol layer of the atmosphere, where chemical reactions generate sulfuric acid and water particles that reflect sunlight away from the Earth and back to space.

The study’s findings reveal that it is emissions from small to moderate volcanoes that have been offsetting recent Earth warming, according to Neely, a researcher at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences. …

According to Toon, larger volcanoes can have an even bigger effect than small and moderate volcanoes. He noted that when Mount Pinatubo erupted in 1991, it sent millions of tons of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere, cooling the planet for the next several years.

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