Can Eruptions In The Tropics Trigger Global Weather Events?

Posted by on Thursday, October 5, 2017
Pinatubo91eruption clark air base.jpg
When we turn on the news and hear of volcanic eruptions a world away we don't often thing it has any impact on us.

However new research has shown that volcanic eruptions in the tropics can actually be the start of El Niño. 

El Niño is a climate cycle in the Pacific Ocean with a global impact on weather patterns. The cycle begins when warm water in the western tropical Pacific Ocean shifts eastward along the equator toward the coast of South America.

The researchers of the study, published in Nature Communications, used climate model simulations that indicated the warm phase of El Niño seemed to peak in the year following a volcanic eruption.

When volcanoes erupt, they fill the atmosphere with sulfur dioxide. This forms a highly reflective layer of sulfuric acid, reflecting solar radiation and reducing surface temperatures. 

Since the year 1882, four of the five biggest eruptions were followed by El Nino-like patterns in sea surface temperatures.



The Team

© Wx Centre