Eyjafjallajökull – Year Without A Summer?
Can the 1666-meter tall Eyjafjallajökull volcano cause climate change? That depends on 2 factors: 1) How long will it continue to erupt? 2) How much sulphur dioxide (SO2) reaches the stratosphere?
Climate – 3 million tonnes of SO2 needed for cooling
SO2 bonds with water molecules to form sulphuric acid, which produces a reflective haze around the globe that blocks out some sunlight. Once in the stratosphere, it can take months or years before it dissipates. But this effect requires at least 3 million tonnes reaching the stratosphere before it causes measureable climatic cooling. In 1991 global temperatures dropped about half of a degree C for 2 years after Pinatubo had erupted. Even if the Eyjafjallajökull eruption continued for weeks, this effect is improbable. The particles have not reached the 13,000 m altitude needed for the blocking effect. Conclusion. No climatic effects. http://www.spiegel.de/wissenschaft/natur/0,1518,689506-8,00.html
Weather – Year without a summer?
Eyjafjallajökull could however effect the weather over the next few weeks or months if it continues to emit more ash, which makes the sky appear more milky. Should it continue to emit, it could drop temperatures over parts of Europe a few tenths of a degree and make spring a little cooler. And if the eruption continues for weeks, some scientists say it could produce a year without a summer like in 1816, after Tambora in Indonesia erupted a year earlier and caused dramatic cooling. http://www.spiegel.de/wissenschaft/natur/0,1518,689506-9,00.html.
PS. Remembering how to spell Eyjafjallalökull 1) break it up into three words: Eyjaf – jalla – jökull; 2) Repeat that 20 times. (But don’t ask me how to pronounce it!)
Update: pronouncing Eyjafjallajökull – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqXc8i8CvNs&feature=autoshare
Wasn’t that easy!