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Excerpt from scoop.co.nz

The Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcanic eruption is unlikely to have a significant cooling effect on temperatures globally, say NIWA scientists.

When a volcano erupts, it releases huge amounts of sulphur dioxide (SO2) into the air. High concentrations of SO2 are currently over the Pacific. This is happening in the troposphere, the lowest part of the atmosphere.

However, global climate will be impacted by how much SO2 reaches the stratosphere, which is higher up than the troposphere. There, SO2 is converted to sulphuric acid droplets over a few weeks. These aerosols can have a long-lasting radiative effect around the globe, reflecting incoming sunlight and lowering temperatures.

30 years ago, the Mount Pinatubo eruption in the Philippines pumped 15m tonnes SO2 into the atmosphere and cooled the earth by one degree for the next year and a half.

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