Human Carbon Dioxide Dwarfs Volcanic Emissions

Volcanoes affect climate through the release of greenhouse gases, although anthropogenic emissions dwarf their impact with respect to carbon dioxide.

Volcanic emissions Volcanoes affect climate through the release of greenhouse gases, although anthropogenic emissions dwarf their impact with respect to carbon dioxide. Major explosive eruptions release huge amounts of volcanic gas, aerosol droplets, and ash that are injected into the stratosphere. On the USGS Volcano Hazards Program website, Terry Gerlach (USGS) discusses how injected ash falls rapidly from the stratosphere - most of it is removed within several days to weeks - with little impact on climate change. Meanwhile, volcanic sulfur dioxide gas can cause global cooling. However, volcanic carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, has the potential to promote global warming. Gerlach explores literature for the relative impact of anthropogenic versus volcanic CO2 emissions [1] and concludes that current estimates show that the human contribution is well over 100 times greater than all subaerial and submarine volcanic emissions combined. Improving these estimates is a principle goal of the DCO's Reservoirs and Fluxes Community.

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