Bali's Mount Agung Eruption 'Could Cause Global Temperature To Drop'
Life on the Indonesian island of Bali has juddered to a halt as a giant volcano on the verge of eruption spews volcanic ash up to 2.5 miles into the sky, causing flights to be cancelled and people to be evacuated.
Mount Agung's activity is causing all sorts of problems for the people of Bali and the tourists who have become trapped there, but scientists think the effects will be felt even further afield.
Aside from halting travel and having the entire island on high alert for an imminent eruption, the gasses and particles spewed out into the air by Mount Agung could cause the global temperature to drop, reports Vox.
While eruptions do release carbon dioxide, which traps heat, they also release gasses like sulphur dioxide, which can form compounds that reflect sunlight.
In large quantities and over a big enough area, these clouds have the power to make the world's thermostat drop a few notches. Although, how much depends on the eruption.
NASA climate scientist Chris Colose pointed out on Twitter: "To have a notable climate impact, there needs to be an explosive enough eruption (to get material in the stratosphere) and a sulfur-rich eruption (the SO2 converts to sulfate aerosol, which is what radiatively matters)."
Adding: "If these conditions are met, the eruption cools the surface/troposphere and warms the stratosphere, the opposite of both patterns associated with CO2 increases. But both are very short-lived (~years)."
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Scientists have even played with the idea of emulating volcano eruptions in order to combat the effects of global warming.
The geoengineering process involves sending clouds of sulphuric acid into the atmosphere to counterbalance some of humanity's damage to world climate.
It still remains unclear whether the current eruption will produce enough ash and gas to have a noticeable effect on global temperatures, but what we do know is that an eruption of the same volcano back in 1963 caused temperatures to fall by 0.1 and 0.2 degrees Celsius over a year.
Bali's international airport has now reopened, but officials have warned that a slight change in wind directions could ground flights again.
So far, up to 100,000 people have been ordered to evacuate an exclusion zone around the volcano and thousands of tourists have been stranded on the island.
On Monday, the threat level was raised to the highest level as officials fear an imminent eruption.
Although the airport is open for the time being, authorities have warned that tourists face long waits to get off the island, due to a huge backlog of flights.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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