2018's biggest volcanic eruption of sulfur dioxide

ScienceDaily | 2/28/2019 | Staff
marishamarisha (Posted by) Level 3
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The volcano injected 400,000 tons of sulfur dioxide into the upper troposphere and stratosphere during its most active phase in July, and a total of 600,000 tons in 2018. That's three times the amount released from all combined worldwide eruptions in 2017.

During a series of eruptions at Ambae in 2018, volcanic ash also blackened the sky, buried crops and destroyed homes, and acid rain turned the rainwater, the island's main source of drinking water, cloudy and "metallic, like sour lemon juice," said New Zealand volcanologist Brad Scott. Over the course of the year, the island's entire population of 11,000 was forced to evacuate.

Ambae - Volcano - Eruption - July - Measurements

At the Ambae volcano's peak eruption in July, measurements showed the results of a powerful burst of energy that pushed gas and ash to the upper part of the troposphere and into the stratosphere, at an altitude of 10.5 miles. Sulfur dioxide is short-lived in the atmosphere, but once it penetrates into the stratosphere, where it combines with water vapor to convert to sulfuric acid aerosols, it can last much longer -- for weeks, months or even years, depending on the altitude and latitude of injection, said Simon Carn, professor of volcanology at Michigan Tech.

In extreme cases, like the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines, these tiny aerosol particles can scatter so much sunlight that they cool the Earth's surface below.

Hawaii - Kilauea - Sierra - Negra - Volcano

Hawaii's Kilauea and the Sierra Negra volcano in the Galapagos are shown on the same day. The plot below shows the July-August spike in emissions from Ambae.

"With the Kilauea and Galapagos eruptions, you had continuous emissions of sulfur dioxide over time, but the Ambae eruption was more explosive," said Simon Carn, professor of volcanology at Michigan Tech. "You can see a giant pulse in...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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