How do large volcanoes affect the atmosphere?
Volcanic eruptions can change Earth’s climate in a number of ways. Large eruptions cool the surface for a year or more, but surprisingly also warm winters across wide swaths of the Northern Hemisphere. Unfortunately, complex computer models aren’t in agreement about these effects, and to verify them we only have two big volcanoes observed by satellites.
Our paper “The Circulation Response to Volcanic Eruptions: The Key Roles of Stratospheric Warming and Eddy Interactions” in press at Journal of Climate, addresses this problem using a series of simplified models. Their simplicity helps explain the mechanism and predictability of the volcanic response.