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Name: K G Bard
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Question:
How do volcanoes affect the climate both on a local level and on a global level? How do they affect temperature, rainfall, and pollution? What kinds of gases and particles are emitted and what how do they affect life around the volcano?



Replies:
Volcanoes release carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and other gas molecules. Poisonous clouds of gas will suffocate a person caught in them as they rush down the volcano side. The sulfur dioxide gets thrown high into the stratosphere (where jet planes fly) along with dirt particles. The sulfur dioxide gets converted to sulfate particles. These particles reflect sunlight back to space which cools Earth's climate. The recent eruption in the Philippines cooled the Earth by about one degree F and may have been responsible for the cool summer of 1992. The particles spread all around the world so the effect is fairly uniform. They also scatter sunlight leading to spectacular red sunsets. Volcano particles may lead to more clouds, and thus rain, around a volcano but I am not sure about this.

Mark Fernau



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