The world has seen a slowing in global warming and this can be attributed to unusually active volcanic eruptions in the last 14 years.
In between 1998 to 2012, there have been 17 large eruptions which have pumped enormous amounts of sulfur dioxide into the earth’s atmosphere. The Sulfur Dioxide formed liquid particles and reflected large amount of sunlight back into the space and to a large extent has soothed the soaring temperatures of the planet. This conclusion was drawn by a study which was published online on Monday in Nature Geo Science.
The discrepancy in the temperature trends and the models could be explained to the abnormal increase in volcanic eruptions which has cooled the planet. The models expected the eruptions to spew aerosols which will slowly subside to zero.
However this is not happening in the real world. In fact the planet was experiencing a partial cooling phenomenon precipitated by the volcanic eruptions which spewed aerosols like Sulfur Dioxide and dust.
Satellite readings of temperatures of the 11 mile thick lower troposphere, which is the closest to the earth’s surface were taken by an international research team and compared with 28 climate models. The natural effects of the El Nino Southern Oscillation was also considered since it caused varying levels of cooling and warming of the waters in the Eastern Equatorial Pacific. The model worked perfectly till the beginning of the century. The readings between the global temperatures as predicted by the models and the actual readings started varying. This led to speculations that the models were flawed.
It soon dawned on the scientists that the models must also accommodate factors such as fluctuations in solar cycles, the absorption of heat by the oceans and an increase in sulfur dioxide emissions from coal burning in China and lastly the volcanic eruptions.
A major volcanic eruption injects sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere where the sulfur dioxide liquefies and starts reflecting sunlight leading to a cooling of the lower atmosphere and surface. However this is only a temporary respite and the dangers of Global Warming is still there.