The Volcanic Contribution to Climate Change of the Past 100 Years

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Volcanic eruptions which inject large amounts of sulfur-rich gas into the stratosphere produce dust veils which last several years and cool the earth's surface. At the same time these dust veils absorb enough solar radiation to warm the stratosphere. Since these temperature changes at the earth's surface and in the stratosphere are both in the opposite direction to the hypothesized effects from greenhouse gases, they act to delay and mask the detection of greenhouse effects on the climate system. A large portion of the global climate change of the past 100 years may be due to the effects of volcanoes, but a definitive answer is not yet clear. While effects over several years have been demonstrated with both data studies and numerical models, long-term effects, while found in climate model calculations, await confirmation with more realistic models. In this paper chronologies of past volcanic eruptions and the evidence from data analyses and climate model calculations are reviewed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDevelopments in Atmospheric Science
Number of pages15
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameDevelopments in Atmospheric Science
ISSN (Print)0167-5117

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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