Chile's volcano not likely to affect the climate

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 19. toukokuuta 2008 klo 14:01 (GMT)

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It's been a busy month for natural disasters, and I haven't found time to talk about Chile's Chaiten volcano, 760 miles (1,220 km) south of the capital Santiago. The volcano started erupting on May 2 for the first time in thousands of years, spewing ash, gas and molten rock into the air, forcing the evacuation of thousands of people. Did this mighty eruption have a cooling effect on the climate?


Figure 1. This May 5, 2008 image from NASA's Terra satellite caught Chaiten erupting. Image credit: NASA.

Many historic volcanic eruptions have had a major cooling impact on Earth's climate. However, Chaiten is very unlikely to be one of them. To see why this is, let's examine recent volcanic eruptions that have had a significant cooling effect on the climate. In the past 200 years, Mt. Pinatubo in the Phillipines (June 1991), El Chichon (Mexico, 1982), Mt. Agung (Indonesia, 1963), Santa Maria (Guatemala, 1902) Krakatoa (Indonesia, 1883), and Tambora (1815) all created noticeable cooling. As one can see from a plot of the solar radiation reaching Mauna Loa in Hawaii (Figure 2), the Mt. Pinatubo and El Chichon eruptions caused a greater than 10% drop in sunlight reaching the surface. The eruption of Tambora in 1815 had an even greater impact, triggering the famed Year Without a Summer in 1816. Killing frosts and snowstorms in May and June 1816 in Eastern Canada and New England caused widespread crop failures, and lake and river ice were observed as far south as Pennsylvania in July and August. Volcanic eruptions cause this kind of climate cooling by throwing large amounts of sulfur dioxide gas into the stratosphere. This gas reacts with water to form sulphuric acid droplets (aerosol particles), which are highly reflective, and reduce the amount of incoming sunlight.

You'll notice from the list of eruptions above that all of these climate-cooling events were from volcanoes in the tropics. Above the tropics, the stratosphere's circulation features rising air, which pulls the sulfur-containing volcanic aerosols high into the stratosphere, where the upper-level winds circulate them all around the globe. These aerosol particles take a year or two to settle back down to earth, since there is no rain in the stratosphere to help remove them. However, if a major volcanic eruption occurs in the mid-latitudes or polar regions, the circulation of the stratosphere in those regions generally features downward subsiding air, and the volcanic aerosol particles are not able to penetrate high in the stratosphere and get carried all around the globe. Chaiten is located near 40° south latitude, far from the tropics, and thus is unlikely to be able to inject significant amounts of sulfur aerosols into the stratosphere. Furthermore, the character of Chaiten's eruptions so far has been to eject a lot of silica and not much sulfur into the air. The total amount of sulfur ejected has been only about 1/10000 of what Mt. Pinatubo put into the air, according to NASA.


Figure 2. Reduced solar radiation due to volcanic aerosols as measured at Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii. Image credit: NOAA/ESRL.

Realclimate.org has a nice article that goes into the volcano-climate connection in greater detail. One interesting quote from the article: There can be some exceptions to the tropics-only rule, and at least one high latitude volcano appears to have had significant climate effects; Laki (Iceland, 1783-1784). The crucial factor was that the eruption was almost continuous for over 8 months which lead to significantly elevated sulphate concentrations for that whole time over much of the Atlantic and European regions, even though stratospheric concentrations were likely not particularly exceptional.

My next blog will talk about new research regarding the hurricanes/global warming connection.

Jeff Masters

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1740. sporteguy03
21. toukokuuta 2008 klo 14:16 (GMT)
Hi JP
Member Since: 7.07.2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 5120
1739. weatherbrat
21. toukokuuta 2008 klo 14:09 (GMT)
Good Morning Everyone!!

I see we're getting everyone back and ready for another busy season (so Dr. Gray says).

When will the next predictions come out from Dr. Gray? Isn't it usually the end of may. If it's out already does anyone have a link for me?

Looking forward to watching this blog over the next several months. Take care everyone and have a great day!
1738. mississippiwx23
21. toukokuuta 2008 klo 14:08 (GMT)
New Blog
Member Since: 20.08.2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 683
1737. LakeShadow
21. toukokuuta 2008 klo 14:04 (GMT)
morning all!
interesting discussion brewing here...and weather related! awesome!

I think that blob in the BOC is really the remanents of Karen. LOL!

Seriously though..there are a few observations I had:
the blob in the Pacific, West of Central America...looks to be blowing up a bit and also looks like it could get steered back into the GOMEX...and along the African coast what appears to be a big trough with some impressive convection coming up behind it.

looks interesting. I agree that the summer season has a 2-week jump...just not in the N.E. :o(
Member Since: 10.08.2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 2134
1736. Cavin Rawlins
21. toukokuuta 2008 klo 14:04 (GMT)
There is a reason why the SPC rarely puts severe weather forecasts out over the 4-8 day time frame.

Is it becuz severe weather in the mid-latitudes is more dynamic that tropical weather?

Member Since: 24.07.2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
1735. mississippiwx23
21. toukokuuta 2008 klo 14:03 (GMT)
Well, I shouldn't say ALL we have...but most of it. We can also look at correlations between past years and teleconnections.
Member Since: 20.08.2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 683
1734. mississippiwx23
21. toukokuuta 2008 klo 13:59 (GMT)
456,

Yes, they are reasonably good up to 4-5 days out, but they are still way off at times. There is a reason why the SPC rarely puts severe weather forecasts out over the 4-8 day time frame. Right now, the European, CMC, and GFS are in reasonable agreement with the flow through day 6, so they do have outlooks, but this does not happen very often.

Numberical models are all we really have in the long term however, and looking at them for general trends can give you a lot of information on what might happen in the future. Looking at what happens in Asia 7-10 days ahead of time is also very helpful in forecasting tropical storm track.
Member Since: 20.08.2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 683
1732. mississippiwx23
21. toukokuuta 2008 klo 13:54 (GMT)
http://www.ecmwf.int/products/forecasts/d/charts/medium/deterministic/msl_uv850_z500!Wind%20850%20a nd%20mslp!216!North%20America!pop!od!oper!public_plots!2008052100!!/

Yes, I just said you cant trust models this far out...but look at the European 216 hours out. And compare that with the GFS. Both have storms, just on the different side of central america. Maybe they are both noticing something, its just a matter of which side it forms. The European is also showing some energy in the Carib.
Member Since: 20.08.2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 683
1731. Cavin Rawlins
21. toukokuuta 2008 klo 13:53 (GMT)
good mornin SW
Member Since: 24.07.2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
1730. Cavin Rawlins
21. toukokuuta 2008 klo 13:50 (GMT)
1725. mississippiwx23 9:42 AM AST on May 21, 2008

1 week has a reasonable range of accuracy.....also.....computer models cannot be 100% right but can be use as a general guide. Computer models have come along way (like much of ur weather forecasts u look at to plan a fishing trip were derived from computer models.) But a true forecaster, incorporates other weather forecasting tools....I always view numerical models as the "last tools" on the list.
Member Since: 24.07.2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
1728. StormJunkie
21. toukokuuta 2008 klo 13:49 (GMT)
Morning SW, great to see ya.

Ok, really off to finish up this starter...
Member Since: 17.08.2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 15472
1726. StormJunkie
21. toukokuuta 2008 klo 13:44 (GMT)
1725.

Exactly !~)
Member Since: 17.08.2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 15472
1725. mississippiwx23
21. toukokuuta 2008 klo 13:42 (GMT)
If you cant really trust a model out 2-3 days...how can you trust 348 hrs...or a climate model which is forecasting years into the future...???
Member Since: 20.08.2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 683
1724. Cavin Rawlins
21. toukokuuta 2008 klo 13:36 (GMT)
1719. cchsweatherman 9:24 AM AST on May 21, 2008


That maybe true...but it will depend on how deep the system is which I expect to be deep enough to be affected by the upper trough, so i discount that...but if u also notice the high pressure system to its north and east is not only a surface feature it extends upwards to the same level of the trough.....further matching with the forces the trough...that ts why its not that simple for this feature to go directly out to sea but drift back westward
Member Since: 24.07.2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
1723. StormJunkie
21. toukokuuta 2008 klo 13:35 (GMT)
cchs, No offense, and I do understand it is fun to test ones skill at forecasting, but....Stating where something will be in 384hrs = wishcasting no matter how you look at it :~)

And to me, it looks like the GFS wants to push this thing back in to the GOM or dissipate it near Cuba....Sorry pat! No matter, 384hrs = worhtless
Member Since: 17.08.2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 15472
1722. mississippiwx23
21. toukokuuta 2008 klo 13:35 (GMT)
Even if that is a low or not in the Carib, the GFS might still be hinting at a lot of moisture available for rainfall, which the SE desperately needs. Hopefully, instead of stalling over Cuba, the system can move into the gulf and over the southeast US here in the early season while the gulf is still relatively cool. That way we can get the rain and not the destruction.
Member Since: 20.08.2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 683
1721. StormJunkie
21. toukokuuta 2008 klo 13:32 (GMT)
Morning y'all :~)

I see the GFS is now parking the Carib low on top of Cuba for days on end, and it looks like it is pushing the E Coast front further off shore now which if it plays out that way should pretty much prevent anything from forming along it and getting anywhere near warm core. Will be interesting to see how all of it plays out.

Ok, y'all have fun, got to run...Have to finish getting the starter out of the car and then get the new one in. Got dumped on before I could finish that up yesterday....Arghh
Member Since: 17.08.2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 15472
1720. Patrap
21. toukokuuta 2008 klo 13:25 (GMT)
The IRS and Hurricane Preparedness Week Link

Preparing for a Disaster (Taxpayers and Businesses)Link


Planning what to do in case of a disaster is an important part of being prepared. The Internal Revenue Service encourages taxpayers to safeguard their records. Some simple steps can help taxpayers and businesses protect financial and tax records in case of disasters.

Listed below are tips for individuals and businesses on preparing for a disaster.

Take Advantage of Paperless Recordkeeping for Financial and Tax Records
Member Since: 3.07.2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125560
1719. cchsweatherman
21. toukokuuta 2008 klo 13:24 (GMT)
Even though I only have a basic understanding on how the GFS model depicts upper level data, you can clearly see there is a strong upper-level trough that comes into the GOM right around the time the potential tropical system has moved into the NW Caribbean. You are correct 456, the GFS model has become very confused about what will happen when you have a strong surface ridge versus a strong upper-level trough. In my experience, upper-level troughs are more powerful than surface ridges and can move them away. Thus, if this tropical system (since the model is confused, you can't even determine the strength) does form and move into the NW Caribbean, it would most likely move either over or nearby South Florida. This is by no means "wishcasting", but simple observation and analysis.

OT I think that I'm going to try to get "wishcasting" to become an official word in the dictionary one day.
Member Since: 14.04.2007 Posts: 8 Comments: 5030
1718. Cavin Rawlins
21. toukokuuta 2008 klo 13:20 (GMT)
CCh, u can use the 4 panel charts on the front page if it feels tiresome going back and forth between the surface and upper levels, but they dont loop so u can go through the time-line by changing the url by every 12 hrs in the address bar

For example:

http://www.nco.ncep.noaa.gov/pmb/nwprod/analysis/carib/gfs/06/fp1_348.shtml

http://www.nco.ncep.noaa.gov/pmb/nwprod/analysis/carib/gfs/06/fp1_360.shtml

http://www.nco.ncep.noaa.gov/pmb/nwprod/analysis/carib/gfs/06/fp1_372.shtml
Member Since: 24.07.2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
1717. Patrap
21. toukokuuta 2008 klo 13:19 (GMT)
One can use the wu-mail to inquire.
Member Since: 3.07.2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125560
1716. cchsweatherman
21. toukokuuta 2008 klo 13:18 (GMT)
1715. Weather456 9:14 AM EDT on May 21, 2008
1711. cchsweatherman 9:08 AM AST on May 21, 2008
Where have you been hondaguy? Great to see you back on board now. Looks like we got almost everyone back and ready for the upcoming hurricane season.

It isnt complete until "eye" comes back...lol that guy cud downcast like there's no 2mr.


Can't believe that I forgot about "eye". Made things very interesting on the blogs. By the way, where is Bonedog? I haven't heard anything about him and seen any posts from him since last hurricane season.
Member Since: 14.04.2007 Posts: 8 Comments: 5030
1715. Cavin Rawlins
21. toukokuuta 2008 klo 13:14 (GMT)
1711. cchsweatherman 9:08 AM AST on May 21, 2008
Where have you been hondaguy? Great to see you back on board now. Looks like we got almost everyone back and ready for the upcoming hurricane season.


It isnt complete until "eye" comes back...lol that guy cud downcast like there's no 2mr.
Member Since: 24.07.2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
1714. cchsweatherman
21. toukokuuta 2008 klo 13:13 (GMT)
1707. Weather456 8:56 AM EDT on May 21, 2008
1693. cchsweatherman 8:07 AM AST on May 21, 2008
Hey Patrap and 456,
Just wondering if you could offer your opinion on this potential situation. Certainly looks interesting, but it just seems too erratic to be believable.

The model appears to be confuse. If u notice in 348 hrs time, there is blocking ridge stretching from the Atlnatic to the SE USA but at 300 mb there is an upper trough digging across the Gulf of Mexico. These are two opposing factors. The trough wud normally sweep system towards the NE due to the southwesterly flow ahead of them but at the same time....a blocking high or bridging high retrograde systems, that is, turn then towards the west.


You know what I just realized? The Upper Air Graphics from the GFS model at the top of the screen. No wonder why it has been so hard to disect this model. Thanks for indirectly making me aware of the upper level information. Now, I will go back and review everything again and then I will have a much better idea on what exactly the GFS is thinking. If you are correct (and most of the time you are) 456, then it will come down to which is more powerful: the upper-level trough in the GOM or the ridge.
Member Since: 14.04.2007 Posts: 8 Comments: 5030
1713. hondaguy
21. toukokuuta 2008 klo 13:12 (GMT)
Thanks cchs! It's good to be back. I've been lurking, just not much posting.

Something worth checking out is the pictures that have been sent to a local TV station in the Baton Rouge area. There are 157 pictures of the storm damage in our area from the recent storms. All about 25 miles from where I live.

Check them out HERE
1711. cchsweatherman
21. toukokuuta 2008 klo 13:08 (GMT)
Where have you been hondaguy? Great to see you back on board now. Looks like we got almost everyone back and ready for the upcoming hurricane season.
Member Since: 14.04.2007 Posts: 8 Comments: 5030
1710. hondaguy
21. toukokuuta 2008 klo 13:05 (GMT)
Hey everyone! Havent posted here in a while, but thought ya'll might find this interesting.

Appearently 6 tornadoes were confirmed by the NWS on Thursday in south central Louisiana within an hour and a half time frame.

Gueydan: 5:20 a.m.
Maurice/Scott: 6:15 a.m.
River Ranch in Lafayette: 6:35 a.m.
Theall (8 miles southwest of Abbeville): 6:35 a.m.
Oil Center in Lafayette: 6:40 a.m.
Breaux Bridge: 6:45 a.m.

All of these places are within about 20 - 30 miles of each other.

For the full story click HERE
1709. surfmom
21. toukokuuta 2008 klo 13:03 (GMT)
Definitely an interesting subject. the latent heat is one that interests me, It's what I found so taxing on the horses last summer --it just didn't cool off enough at night. I am not text book science savvy, but my work, interests, and lifestyle have made me very observant of the plant and animal worlds --the clues...msgs....changes I see are not influenced by corporate grants or someone's personal bend - horses are very honest - they don't fall for placebos or a vested interest on an outcome, pretty much the same with plants and trees. The migration of many of our birds to S.America/Costa Rica and settling there is another. Catch you all later after I nail a few waves.
Member Since: 18.07.2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
1708. Patrap
21. toukokuuta 2008 klo 12:58 (GMT)
348 hours?

MAn..thats like looking into July almost..LOL
Member Since: 3.07.2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125560
1707. Cavin Rawlins
21. toukokuuta 2008 klo 12:56 (GMT)
1693. cchsweatherman 8:07 AM AST on May 21, 2008
Hey Patrap and 456,
Just wondering if you could offer your opinion on this potential situation. Certainly looks interesting, but it just seems too erratic to be believable.


The model appears to be confuse. If u notice in 348 hrs time, there is blocking ridge stretching from the Atlnatic to the SE USA but at 300 mb there is an upper trough digging across the Gulf of Mexico. These are two opposing factors. The trough wud normally sweep system towards the NE due to the southwesterly flow ahead of them but at the same time....a blocking high or bridging high retrograde systems, that is, turn then towards the west.
Member Since: 24.07.2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
1706. Patrap
21. toukokuuta 2008 klo 12:52 (GMT)
Im interested in those kinda observations big time Surfmom.
Im hoping that Dr. Jeff Masters sheds some light in his upcoming blog entry ..about Climate Change and its effect,if any on Atlantic Hurricane Intensity.

If the Seasonal Warming is observed sooner and latent heat stored Longer,.well,as you can see..the relationship may be a interesting subject.
Member Since: 3.07.2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125560
1705. smmcdavid
21. toukokuuta 2008 klo 12:52 (GMT)
Good morning all... what's new?
Member Since: 20.09.2005 Posts: 31 Comments: 2309
1704. surfmom
21. toukokuuta 2008 klo 12:53 (GMT)
Got work this afternoon,house is clean and there's small waves out on the GOMEX/SRQ/Tampa/St. Pete thanks to a trof swell. Looking at knee/waist high waves at the right spots. Best time high tide (this am) flat by friday. Have a good day ALL - I am outta here
Member Since: 18.07.2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
1703. Cavin Rawlins
21. toukokuuta 2008 klo 12:49 (GMT)
1693. cchsweatherman 8:07 AM AST on May 21, 2008
Hey Patrap and 456,
Just wondering if you could offer your opinion on this potential situation. Certainly looks interesting, but it just seems too erratic to be believable.


Thats true...but i discounted this feature until this morning when it entered the 7day time frame. There is still no model consensus except for maybe for a weak disturbance seen on the 00Z CMC
Member Since: 24.07.2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
1702. surfmom
21. toukokuuta 2008 klo 12:48 (GMT)
Patrap - based on my observation of my different fruit trees & flowering trees - I am in total agreement of the two week (if not more) ahead in schedule thought...observations from the past two years
Member Since: 18.07.2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
1701. TheCaneWhisperer
21. toukokuuta 2008 klo 12:40 (GMT)
Good Morning Everyone.

What's the latest on the Western Caribbean and GOM? I haven't, nor will have time to look. Can someone help me out with that info? It's greatly appreciated.
1700. floridastorm
21. toukokuuta 2008 klo 12:28 (GMT)
hey i am floridastorm

this year may be a active year
the tropical waves look very impressive
Member Since: 20.05.2008 Posts: 7 Comments: 147
1699. hydrus
21. toukokuuta 2008 klo 12:19 (GMT)
PATRAP-I think you are right,and this type of climate change is happening around the earth.I would not be at all suprised to see tropical cyclone development with in this week.
Member Since: 27.09.2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 19515
1698. Patrap
21. toukokuuta 2008 klo 12:13 (GMT)
The climatology now comes into Play as we Lean into the season.
Im a firm realist believer that seasonal changes are running 2 weeks ahead of the calender,as most farmers will tell you in the Southeast.

So,in my personal view.The season for Tropical Cyclone formation,is upon us now.
Member Since: 3.07.2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125560
1697. biff4ugo
21. toukokuuta 2008 klo 12:11 (GMT)
Hurricane wonks are big on sea surface temperature. So can anybody tell me if they have seen heat plooms from subsurface volcanoes on the surface? I imagine it would look something like a smoke ploom but with heat. There are supposed to be 100x more active volcanoes under water than above it (I misquoted yesterday when I said 20x, he said by 2 orders of magnatude.) With our global records, I'm a bit surprised nobody has. Do you suppose they might get deleted as anomolies?
Member Since: 28.12.2006 Posts: 113 Comments: 1496
1696. hydrus
21. toukokuuta 2008 klo 12:10 (GMT)
ahh -the pressure is dropping in the B.O.C.
Member Since: 27.09.2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 19515
1695. cchsweatherman
21. toukokuuta 2008 klo 12:10 (GMT)
Quite a dramatic pressure drop at that buoy location there Patrap. Thats in the central GOM, right? That could be a sign that the Caribbean and GOM could become active in the near future. Great observation Patrap.
Member Since: 14.04.2007 Posts: 8 Comments: 5030
1694. Patrap
21. toukokuuta 2008 klo 12:07 (GMT)
Conditions at Buoy 42002 as of
(5:50 am CDT)
1050 GMT on 05/21/2008:Link

Graph: Link

OuickSCAT Link

5-day plot - Water Temperature Water Temperature (WTMP): 80.6 F





Member Since: 3.07.2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125560
1693. cchsweatherman
21. toukokuuta 2008 klo 12:07 (GMT)
Hey Patrap and 456,
Just wondering if you could offer your opinion on this potential situation. Certainly looks interesting, but it just seems too erratic to be believable.
Member Since: 14.04.2007 Posts: 8 Comments: 5030
1692. hydrus
21. toukokuuta 2008 klo 12:06 (GMT)
PATRAP-What has gotten your attention that you call interesting?
Member Since: 27.09.2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 19515
1691. cchsweatherman
21. toukokuuta 2008 klo 12:04 (GMT)
Based upon analyzing the GFS model, it has seemed to struggle with activity occuring in the Pacific as it continues to show a broad low that stretches out into the Pacific. Beyond that, it also can't figure out the effect passing troughs will have on the system. I just don't buy this model just yet due to the erratic nature of its output thus far.
Member Since: 14.04.2007 Posts: 8 Comments: 5030
1690. Patrap
21. toukokuuta 2008 klo 12:02 (GMT)
Things are getting vary interesting.
Member Since: 3.07.2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125560

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About JeffMasters

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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