Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Earth Science News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

El Nino events can be triggered by major volcanic eruptions in the tropics
by Brooks Hays
Washington (UPI) Oct 3, 2017

New research suggests the eruption of large volcanoes in the tropics can trigger an El Niño event, the Pacific Ocean warming pattern that impacts global climate.

The El Niño Southern Oscillation describes a periodic variation in winds and sea surface temperatures. The irregular variability features two main patterns: a warming pattern, El Niño, and a cooling pattern, La Niña. One of the two pattens forms roughly every three to seven years. The pattern typically forms toward the end of the calendar year and lasts through the winter months.

Researchers at the University of Rutgers looked at the ENSO patterns in the wake of several tropical volcanic eruptions, including the eruptions of Guatemala's Santa María in 1902, Indonesia's Mount Agung in 1963 and Mexico's El Chichón and Pinatubo in 1982 and 1991.

Scientists looked most closely at Pinatubo, for which researchers had the most detailed atmospheric data. Their analysis -- detailed this week in the journal Nature Communications -- showed the 20 million tons of sulfur dioxide emitted by Mount Pinatubo triggered a cascading series of climate interactions that encouraged the formation of an El Niño in the Pacific.

Large clouds of sulfur dioxide in the stratosphere work to reflect solar energy, and encouraging cooling. In the case of Pinatubo, the uptick in SO2 caused in cooling tropical Africa, which depressed the West African monsoon and drove equatorial westerlies across the western Pacific. The wind pattern anomalies encouraged air-sea interactions that favored an El Niño-like response.

The new model created by researchers at Rutgers agreed with historical patterns, which showed El Niño patterns were more likely to form the year after a major tropical eruption.

"We can't predict volcanic eruptions, but when the next one happens, we'll be able to do a much better job predicting the next several seasons, and before Pinatubo we really had no idea," Alan Robock, a professor of environmental sciences at Rutgers, said in a news release. "All we need is one number -- how much sulfur dioxide goes into the stratosphere - and you can measure it with satellites the day after an eruption."

The new model also showed in influx of SO2 from tropical volcanoes can prematurely end a La Niña event, as well as trigger warming during a neutral ENSO pattern. Scientists say their model could be used to more accurately predict future precipitation totals.

"If you're a farmer and you're in a part of the world where El Niño or the lack of one determines how much rainfall you will get, you could make plans ahead of time for what crops to grow, based on the prediction for precipitation," Robock said.

Previous studies suggest El Niño events are associated with a variety of weather patterns across the globe. The warming pattern tends to suppress hurricane activity in the Atlantic, promote milder winter temperatures across Canada and encourage cold season coastal storms along the Eastern Seaboard -- among other impacts.

The godfather of eco-bling: Brando's Tahitian paradise
Tetiaroa, France (AFP) Sept 20, 2017
An exotic island paradise in French Polynesia bought by Marlon Brando in the sixties is using its Hollywood image to tackle environmental issues - with a little help from its jet-set visitors. The tiny, palm-fringed atoll of Tetiaroa was once a favourite holiday spot for Tahitian royalty before the late American movie star fell in love with it while filming "Mutiny on the Bounty" in 1961 on ... read more

Related Links
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Signs of corruption emerge from rubble of Mexico quake

Fear of epidemic disaster as disease stalks Rohingya camps

Water from a rock: Puerto Ricans cope with hurricane aftermath

Machete, origami and reading: life in San Juan a week after Maria

UV-irradiated amorphous ice behaves like liquid at low temperatures

The 3-D selfie has arrived

Ultracold atoms point toward an intriguing magnetic behavior

Researchers developing new technique that uses light to separate mirrored molecules

A sustainable future powered by sea

Getting the measure of mud

Scientists call for more research on how human activities affect the seabed

Black Sea water temperatures may buck global trend

Winter cold extremes linked to high-altitude polar vortex weakening

Shipping risks rise as Antarctic ice hits record low

Researchers take on atmospheric effects of Arctic snowmelt

End-of-summer Arctic sea ice extent is eighth lowest on record

Global methane emissions from agriculture possibly much larger

Artificial light device boosts cows' milk yields by 9 percent

Planet-warming methane from livestock underestimated: study

Global network of botanical gardens contain a third of all known plant species

Earthquake warning systems improving, but prediction still not possible, scientists say

More than 120,000 flee rumbling Bali volcano

Bali volcano evacuees outside red zone fearful to return home

After tsunami, ocean plastic acted as rafts for small sea life

The link between drought and riots in sub-Saharan Africa

Ghanaian villagers profit from monkey business

New ceasefire signed by armed groups

C. Africa asks UN to send more peacekeepers, ease arms embargo

Researchers explore why humans don't purge lethal genetic disorders from the population

Ancient human DNA in sub-Saharan Africa lifts veil on prehistory

Helping Ponso, sole survivor of 'Chimpanzee Island' in I. Coast

Cell phone data coupled with sewage testing show drug use patterns

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement