Volcanic winter, illustration

Volcanic winter, illustration

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Credit: CLAUS LUNAU/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Volcanic winter. Illustration of the cooling effect on the climate of a volcanic eruption. Sunlight (yellow arrows) is being reflected by the clouds of ash ejected into the stratosphere. Droplets of sulphuric acid (yellow spheres) are formed from the sulphur-containing gases erupted. A series of chemical reactions produce sulphuric acid and related aerosols, further increasing reduction in solar radiation levels. Acid rain (right) is also shown here. Short-term and long-term effects include the killing off of plant and animal life under blankets of ash, or as global temperatures drop. Global effects are seen with large volcanic eruptions, such as the eruption of a supervolcano.

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