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Role of Volcanoes in Global Warming

Role of Volcanoes in Global Warming

Tag:GS 3|| Environment || Climate Change ||  Global Warming


Researchers from DCO’s (Deep Carbon Observatory) DECADE (Deep Earth Carbon Degassing) subgroup found that volcanoes and volcanic regions outgassed (release of trapped gaseous material) an estimated 280-360 million tonnes of CO2 per year.

Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO)

  • DCO is a 10-year global research collaboration of more than 1,000 scientists to understand the quantities, movements, forms, and origins of carbon in Earth.
  • DCO study revealed that, CO2 released annually by volcanoes hovers 100 times less than man-made emissions.

Role of Volcanoes

According to the study, even a small number of eruptions have caused catastrophic release of Carbon that leads to Global Warming, Ocean acidification and finally Mass extinction.

  • Particles of Dust and Ash :                                          
  • This volcanic dust raises and blocks sun rays causing temporary cooling effect.
  • Large particles fall down with rainfall, minute particles travels as high as stratosphere and these also block sun rays. They have less effect.
  • Sulfur:
  • Volcanic eruptions release Sulfur, Sulfur dioxide is much more effective than ash particles at cooling the climate.
  • This sulfur moves to stratosphere and reacts with Water vapor to form Sulfuric Acid. The sulfuric acid makes a haze of tiny droplets in the stratosphere that reflects incoming solar radiation, causing cooling of the Earth’s surface.
  • Green House Gases :
  • Volcanoes also release large amounts of greenhouse gases such as water vapor and carbon dioxide.
  • There have been times during Earth history when intense volcanism has significantly increased the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and caused global warming.


  • About 400 of the 1500 volcanoes active since the last Ice Age 11,700 years ago are venting CO2 today, said DECADE.
  • Another 670 could be producing diffuse emissions, with 102 already documented.
  • Of these, 22 ancient volcanoes that have not erupted since the Pleistocene Epoch (2.5 million years ago to the Ice Age) are outgassing.
  • DECADE also confirmed that more than 200 volcanic systems emitted measurable volumes of CO2 between 2005 and 2017. Of these, several regions of degassing have been documented.

Global Warming

Global Warming is an average increase in the Earth’s surface and in the temperature of the atmosphere, which can contribute to changes in global climate patterns”. It can be induced by both Naturally and Anthropogenicaly..

Green House Effect

It’s a natural phenomenon that blankets the Earth’s lower atmosphere and warms it, maintaining the temperature suitable for living things to survive. Without this phenomenon the earths average temperature would be -19 degree Celsius.

Green House Gases: Water vapor, CO2, Methane, Nitrous oxide (N2O), Fluorinated Gases (HFCs , PFCs, HF6).