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Volcanic Gases Slow Down Global Warning

Update Date: Feb 27, 2014 09:26 AM EST
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Volcanoes are partly responsible to keep global warming under control in the last few years, according to a new study. 

According to the study, performed by researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, several eruptions in the past decade have served to cool down the planet. These eruptions also offset warming caused by the greenhouse gases, the study mentioned. 

The study further notes that levels of greenhouse gases have kept increasing since 1998. Despite the increment the average temperatures of the land surface and the heat content of the ocean have remained constant. 

"In the last decade, the amount of volcanic aerosol in the stratosphere has increased, so more sunlight is being reflected back into space. This has created a natural cooling of the planet and has partly offset the increase in surface and atmospheric temperatures due to human influence," Benjamin Santer, lead author of the study, said in a press release. 

In the process of volcanic eruptions, large quantities of sulfur dioxide gas are released in the stratosphere where the same gas converts into small pellets of sulfuric acid also known as aerosols. These tiny droplets act like tiny mirrors that reflect sunlight back in the space. 

"This is the most comprehensive observational evaluation of the role of volcanic activity on climate in the early part of the 21st century. We assess the contributions of volcanoes on temperatures in the troposphere... and find they've certainly played some role in keeping the Earth cooler," Susan Solomon, MIT professor and co-author of the study, said in the press release.

The paper has been published in the journal Nature Geoscience

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