WeatherTalk: Tonga eruption not likely to cool the climate
Strong eruptions in the tropics have been known to cause cooling due to large amounts of sulphur dioxide being placed into the upper atmosphere.
The recent volcanic eruption of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai, about 40 miles from the island of Tonga in the South Pacific, created an atmospheric shock wave measured around the globe. The boom was heard across the Pacific Ocean, and tsunami waves caused flooding from New Zealand to California.
Extremely strong eruptions in the tropics have been known to have a dramatic cooling effect on climate due to large amounts of sulphur dioxide being placed into the upper atmosphere in the region which receives the most solar radiation. In 1991, the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in The Philippines produced a measurable cool-down for about a year. Eruptions on Krakatoa in 1883 and Tambura in 1815 caused significant cooling lasting several years. However, the Tonga eruption has so far not sent enough sulphur dioxide skyward to have a climatic effect.