Volcanic Climate Warming through Radiative and Dynamical Feedbacks of
Volcanic flood basalt eruptions have been linked to or are
contemporaneous with major climate disruptions, ocean anoxic events, and
mass extinctions throughout at least the last 400M years of Earth’s
history. Previous studies and recent history have shown that
volcanically-driven climate cooling can occur through reflection of
sunlight by H2SO4 aerosols, while
longer-term climate warming can occur via CO2 emissions.
We use the Goddard Earth Observing System Chemistry-Climate Model to
simulate a four-year duration volcanic SO2 emission of
the scale of the Wapshilla Ridge member of the Columbia River Basalt
eruption. Brief cooling from H2SO4
aerosols is outweighed by dynamically and radiatively driven warming of
the climate through a three orders of magnitude increase in
stratospheric H2O vapor.