Volcanic eruptions could destroy the ozone layer

(ORDO NEWS) — The latest climate modeling results have stunned NASA scientists by showing how extreme volcanic eruptions can doom the Earth by destroying its ozone layer.

When the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano exploded near the remote Pacific archipelago, shock waves were felt around the world, a tsunami was generated, and ash severely damaged local areas. NASA climate modeling results show the damage volcanoes can do to our planet.

Extreme volcanic eruptions can destroy the ozone layer that protects us from deadly ultraviolet radiation.

Basalt eruptions, according to geologists, could be the cause of the modern conditions of Venus and Mars.
The new climate modeling and its results contradict previous studies that have indicated that eruptions can cool the climate.

A basalt flood resulting from a gigantic volcanic eruption is characterized by a series of eruptions lasting perhaps centuries and occurring over hundreds of thousands of years, sometimes even longer.

NASA scientists say some of them happened around the same time as the mass extinctions, and many of them are associated with extremely warm periods in Earth’s history.

“They also appear to have been common on other terrestrial worlds in our solar system, such as Mars and Venus.”

The researchers used the Earth Observation System Climate Model to simulate the four-year phase of the Columbia River Basalt (CRB) eruption that occurred between 15 and 17 million years ago in the Pacific Northwest of the United States.

“We were expecting intense cooling. However, we found that the short cooling period was overwhelmed by the warming effect,” said Scott Guzewicz of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. The results were published in Geophysical Research Letters.

The simulations showed how eruptions would destroy the ozone layer. This layer acts like a blanket over the planet, protecting us from dangerous ultraviolet rays emitted by the Sun. However, the hole found in this blanket has alarmed scientists around the world.

Volcanic eruptions could destroy the ozone layer 2
Lava from La Palma destroys a house in the Canary Islands

Simulations have shown a reduction in the layer of about two-thirds of the global average, which is roughly equivalent to a planet-wide ozone thinning comparable to the severe Antarctic ozone hole.

The eruption will release a huge amount of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere, which will turn into aerosols. These aerosols reflect visible sunlight, which causes an initial cooling effect, but also absorb infrared radiation, which warms the atmosphere.

Scientists have said that warming this region of the atmosphere will create nearly 10,000 percent more water vapor. This water vapor will destroy the ozone layer.

“Basalt floods also release carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, but they don’t seem to release enough of it to cause extreme warming. Excessive heating of stratospheric water vapor may provide an explanation,” NASA said.

A new study points to the imminent need to tackle the threat of climate change.

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