US News Bali's fiery volcano could end up temporarily cooling the entire planet

13:25  29 november  2017
13:25  29 november  2017 Source:   Vox.com

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How much a volcanic eruption cools the planet depends on the amount of material it erupts and the composition of that material. Eruptions can also change global rainfall patterns. Scientists are also toying with the idea of imitating volcanoes to keep global warming in check

A violent eruption of Mount Agung could also have ramifications beyond Bali , as Volcanic eruptions can violently shake up the immediate proximity of the eruption site but According to a UCAR study on how volcanoes influence climate, "Most of the particles spewed from volcanoes cool the planet by

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On the Indonesian island of Bali, a volcano called Mount Agung is spewing ash 2.5 miles into the sky, causing flights to be canceled and trapping thousands of tourists and locals on the island, even as the potential for a bigger eruption looms.

This is the second straight day authorities have closed Bali’s international airport for fear of ash damage to aircraft engines. More than 100,000 people near the volcano were told to evacuate as explosions were heard more than 7 miles away.

You can watch the eruption of Mount Agung in this live stream:

Indonesia’s National Disaster Management Authority (BNPB) warned yesterday that the eruptions are increasing and declared the highest alert level for the volcano. An Indonesian government scientist said a larger eruption is possible, but also that the current levels of lava, ash, sulfur, and carbon dioxide emissions could continue for weeks. (You can see ongoing volcanic activity in Indonesia on this live map.)

Bali: Agung Volcano Erupts After Months of Unrest Sending Smoke and Ash 2,000 Feet Into the Air

  Bali: Agung Volcano Erupts After Months of Unrest Sending Smoke and Ash 2,000 Feet Into the Air Indonesia's disaster mitigation agency said people should stay at least 3.7 miles from the volcano.The eruption took place at 5.05 p.m. local time, when the volcano spewed black smoke and ash up to 700 meters (2,300 feet) into the air.

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As Denison University volcanologist Erik Klemetti noted on Twitter, no one knows how the current eruption will pan out.

Bali has a tragic history with Mount Agung, as you can see in this old-timey newsreel (complete with offensive tropes about the indigenous population):

In 1963, Mount Agung’s eruption killed more than 1,600 people on the island over several months — and that was merely a “moderate” eruption, Diana Roman, a geologist at the Carnegie Institution of Washington, told the Washington Post. So locals are understandably unnerved.

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  Bali volcano erupts but flights operating normally The ash clouds have been moving toward the neighboring island of Lombok, a direction that is away from Bali's airport, where nearly all scheduled domestic and international flights were continuing Sunday. Australian airline Jetstar, which canceled nine flights to and from Bali on Saturday evening, said most of its flights will operate normally Sunday after its senior pilots assessed it was safe to fly. However it warned that the movement of ash cloud is highly unpredictable and flights could still be canceled at short notice. Virgin, KLM and Air Asia Malaysia also canceled several flights Saturday.

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But beyond the threat of local devastation, the current eruption of Mount Agung has the potential to impact the entire world.

A single volcano can mess with the whole planet’s climate

Scientists have long understood that volcanic eruptions can nudge the planet’s thermostat for months, as millions of tons of gases and particles spread through the atmosphere.

How much the needle moves, however, depends on what’s being erupted, as NASA climate scientist Chris Colose pointed out:

Volcanoes emit carbon dioxide, which traps heat, but they also spray out ash particles and gases like sulfur dioxide, which form compounds that reflect sunlight, thereby cooling the planet. (The amount of carbon dioxide volcanoes emit overall is trivial compared to the amount from human activities.)

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A Massive Volcano Cooled the Planet 200 Years Ago. Can We Try that Again? (Bizarrely, global warming might end up causing more volcanos.)

How much a volcanic eruption cools the planet depends on the amount of material it erupts and the composition of that material. Eruptions can also change global rainfall patterns.

Scientists are also toying with the idea of imitating volcanoes to keep global warming in check, a strategy known as geoengineering. This includes deliberately seeding clouds or spraying sulfuric acid into the stratosphere to offset some of humanity’s impacts on the world’s climate.

We don’t know yet whether the ongoing eruption will pump out enough gas and ash to have a measurable impact on the climate, but we do know that the 1963 eruption of Mount Agung knocked down global temperatures between 0.1 and 0.2 degrees Celsius for a year.

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Over at Carbon Brief, climate researcher Zeke Hausfather graphed what would happen to global temperatures if the current eruption were to reach the same scale as the last one.

a close up of a map © Provided by Vox.com

“This projection, which is based on the historical relationship between volcanic eruptions and temperature, suggests that an Agung eruption would reduce global temperatures between 0.1C to 0.2C in period from 2018 to 2020, with temperatures mostly recovering back to where they otherwise would be by 2023,” Hausfather wrote.

However, locals are more concerned about the next few days, keeping an uneasy eye on their backyard volcano and wearing surgical masks to ward off the ash. Despite evacuation orders, they are wary of leaving their homes without alternative jobs and housing in place, so if the eruption suddenly gets worse, many will likely remain in harm’s way.

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