Mystery volcano eruption solves ‘cool decade in the early 1800s’ puzzle

December 10th, 2009 - 4:24 pm ICT by ANI  

National Geographic London, Dec 10(ANI): Researchers believe that a newly detected 19th-century volcanic eruption may solve the mystery of the ‘cool decade in the early 1800s’.

Scientists have long blamed the 1815 eruption of an Indonesian volcano, Tambora, for a worldwide cold snap the following year, the so-called year without a summer, but the entire decade from 1810 to 1819 was about 0.5 degree Celsius cooler than normal, making the dip in temperatures prior to Tambora a mystery.

A recent analysis of ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica reveal that in 1809, a volcano somewhere in the tropics erupted, which was responsible for it.

Scientists found high concentrations of sulfuric acid ice cores dating to 1809 and 1810, which forms when eruptions spew sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere.

“That reduces the amount of energy that actually comes into the Earth’s and that helps to cool the planet,” National Geographic News quoted Jihong Cole-Dai, an environmental chemist at the South Dakota State University in Brookings, as saying.

Scientists have always been suggesting that injecting sulfur into the lower atmosphere would be a potent measure to combat global warming.

“That geo-engineering idea is based on how we understand volcanic eruptions cool the Earth,” Cole-Dai said.

Since the sulfur largely disappears from the atmosphere after a few years, however, such a solution would require continuous inputs of sulfur, which in turn could spell trouble for the environment, he said.”The sulfur you put in there will come down as sulfuric acid, and that’s generating acid rain,” he added. (ANI)

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