Throughout history, large volcanic eruptions have been known to influence climate.
This summer, the Midwest experienced a cold wave referred to as “Julytober” following the June eruption of Mount Sheveluch in Russia. Experts continue to compare this eruption to others from history and debate whether it could have induced the cooler Midwestern weather.
“Large Russian volcano eruptions tend to cool the Midwest,” Historical Climatologist Evelyn Browning-Garriss said.
When a volcano erupts, if it is large enough, it can send debris miles into the stratosphere. The stratosphere is the atmosphere above where weather takes place.
Debris sent into the stratosphere by an eruption can include volcanic ash, chemicals and gases, specifically sulfur. This debris can influence temperatures by aiding in a decreased amount of solar radiation.
“Sulfur dioxide combines with water in the atmosphere to provide sulfuric acid aerosol droplets that reflect incoming solar radiation,” PhD Research Geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey Alaska Volcano Observatory David Schneider said.
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