Why countries need an international volcano response plan, Ctd

You may have heard that the Calbuco volcano in southern Chile erupted last week, five days after I wrote about the need for an international volcano response plan to deal with and prepare for the climate impacts of large volcanic events.  The Calbuco eruption is not a large volcanic event by historic standards, but NASA satellite data is starting to show that the eruption's sulfur dioxide may nonetheless have climate impacts because it was injected so high into the stratosphere:

The SO2 total is much lower than the recent Holuhraun eruption, which released about 11–12 teragrams, or 30 to 40 times more than Calbuco. “But the SO2 from Holuhraun was emitted over several months and was mostly confined to the lower troposphere, limiting its climate impacts,” Carn noted. “In terms of climate impacts, Calbuco is probably more significant due to the stratospheric SO2 injection.”

There have already been direct impacts felt in Chile and Argentina, but the potential indirect impacts of sulfur dioxide particles creating a cooling effect could play a disruptive role in upcoming climate change negotiations.  As countries move toward a binding greenhouse gas emission reductions treaty to deal with climate change, now is the time to consider how volcanic cooling effects should be discussed and planned for in the future.  

 Image: NASA

Image: NASA