Volcano Variation: How eruptions can change our weather

Published: Nov. 14, 2023 at 7:12 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - In Iceland, a volcano is close to erupting. There is no fear that this eruption will cause issues here in the stateline. Different types of volcanoes produce different types of eruptions. Some are much more explosive, sending lava and ash into the air, while others produce more flowing lava and less ash. The Iceland volcano is a fissure vent volcano, meaning its eruption will be tame and produce flowing lava.

When some volcanoes erupt, they rocket volcanic ash into our atmosphere. The ash changes our weather because some of the sunlight that enters our atmosphere is blocked by the ash. This prevents the sunlight from reaching the surface, reducing our temperatures.

In 1815, Mount Tambora erupted in Indonesia, spewing ash into our atmosphere. The following year was deemed the Year Without a Summer. Temperatures across the northern hemisphere were down close to a degree on average. Snow fell in June 1816 in the northeast, followed by five nights of frost in late June. This led to massive crop losses, producing widespread food shortages.

In modern times, eruptions can affect our air travel as well. In 2010, the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland erupted, dispersing a massive ash cloud into the air. The ash caused over twenty European countries to stop flights, disrupting over twenty million travelers.