Volcanic Gasses and Global Warming
Name: Quaz J.
Date: April 2002
Recent research on volcanic eruptions show that it causes
global warming. I have not been able to find what gasses in volcanic
eruptions contribute to earth's temperature. What gasses in volcanic
eruptions cause an increase of global warming?
The gas that is most responsible for atmospheric warming is carbon dioxide.
This gas absorbs the long-wave radiation from the earth with a corresponding
increase in the atmospheric temperature. Carbon dioxide is found in
significant quantities in volcanic gasses, but is easily absorbed by water.
Here is a link that contains a short description of volcanic contribution to
the atmosphere and how it has evolved.
Wendell Bechtold, meteorologist
Forecaster, National Weather Service
Weather Forecast Office, St. Louis, MO
As far as I can recall, there are two main components of volcanic ash that
contribute to global warming. The first, and probably foremost, is the
particulate ash itself. I believe that it is thought to act as a sort of
insulation layer, preventing the cooling of the Earth's surface that
normally occurs at night. The second is carbon dioxide released during
the eruptions. It is one of the primary "greenhouse gases", which absorb
the heat themselves and hold it in the atmosphere. It is also believed to
play a major role in maintaining the high temperatures on the surface of Venus.
Jeff Buzby, Ph.D.
Click here to return to the Environmental and Earth Science Archives
Update: June 2012