Volcanoes and the connection they have to global warming
I was recently reading an article in the National Geographic about a “super volcano” in Yellowstone National Park, and I started thinking. Scientists in the article say that it is called a super volcano because it has shot out hundreds of cubic miles of lava and ash in one single eruption:
The Yellowstone region is often referred to as a “supervolcano” because it has spewed more than 240 cubic miles (a thousand cubic kilometers) of ash and lava in a single event. The most recent of these massive blasts occurred some 640,000 years ago.
When I heard this, my first thought was, “Are volcanoes in any way linked to global warming?” I kept pondering this question, and finally I decided to do some research.
According to a website called mi2g, volcanoes are linked to global warming in a few specific ways. The first of these ways is that global warming could cause more volcanic eruptions. Now I bet you’re thinking, “Why?” The explanation for this is that global warming causes ice caps to melt, and once the ice caps melt, that takes a huge weight off magma below ground. This act of nature would make it much more likely for lava to surge upward and pour out onto the land, thus creating a volcano, so soon there will be more eruptions:
Eventually there will be either somewhat larger eruptions or more frequent eruptions in coming decades.
More volcanic eruptions would be pretty bad for humans. Recently, a volcano in Iceland named Eyjafjallajökull erupted, and even though it did not hurt humans, it had a devastating effect on Europe’s air transport because of all of the smoke it spewed. but volcanoes are not all bad. According to scientists in the mi2g article, volcanic eruptions could cool our planet. This phenomenon may seem unlikely, but it is a possibility. Volcanoes shoot sulphur dioxide into the stratosphere. The dioxide then transforms into sulphuric acid droplets. The acid droplets would reflect sunlight, thus not letting as much light from the sun reach the planet, thus cooling the Earth.
Now it seems pretty amazing that volcanoes cool the Earth right? Well, they are not all good. The gas they release into the atmosphere causes acid rain and destroys the ozone layer, which is a much needed barrier to the sun’s rays. So, all in all, volcanoes may cool the Earth, but they are also very destructive in many ways, and we should not rely on them as a solution to global warming at all.