Could Small Volcanoes Slow Global Warming?

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July 6 2012 7:00 PM

Could Small Volcanoes Slow Global Warming?

The record temperatures and extreme weather so far this summer may have us wondering what we can do about global warming. But Mother Earth may have her own solution for climate change: small volcanoes.

Scientists know the planet’s giant volcanoes, like Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines, are capable of ejecting huge volumes of gases and liquid droplets into the stratosphere, where they can remain for years, deflecting sunlight and dropping global temperatures.

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But now, researchers using the satellite-bourn instrument OSIRIS to monitor the upper atmosphere have discovered smaller volcanoes like Nabro in Africa do a pretty good job of punting these aerosols high aloft too. The research team studying a recent Nabro eruption found that this Little Volcano That Could not only ejected its cooling spray far up into the stratosphere, it produced the largest amount of aerosols that OSIRIS had ever detected in its 10 years of flight.

The perfect solution to a cool summer may just be, a tall glass of lemonade, a dip in the pool, and a small volcanic event.

Videos curated by Slate staff.

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