Small volcanic eruptions account for part of the global warming slowdown since 2000, a new study suggests.
Until now, the climate impacts of small volcanic blasts were overlooked because their planet-cooling particles cluster below the reach of satellites, scientists reported Oct. 31 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. It turns out, satellites were missing about 30 percent of these particles, called aerosols, the study found.
Global warming is fueled by human activities, it's escalating quickly and some of its worst effects are probably irreversible. Those are the grim conclusions in a leaked draft of a major new United Nations report on climate change, scheduled to be formally released in early November.
"Human influence has been detected in warming of the atmosphere and the ocean, in changes in the global water cycle, in reduction in snow and ice, and in global mean-sea-level rise; and it is extremely likely to have been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century," the unfinished 127-page draft states, as reported by the New York Times. "The risk of abrupt and irreversible change increases as the magnitude of the warming increases."