Until recently, all research of the relationship between volcanic eruptions and rainfall pointed to eruptions causing LESS rainfall – violent eruptions send microscopic sulfur particles into the air, which deflect sunlight and therefore cause cooler temperatures down on Earth’s surface. The cooler temperatures mean less water is evaporated, and less evaporation means less rainfall.
But recent research has shown an opposite effect on specific parts of Asia – following eruptions that caused decreases in rainfall for most of southern Asia, central Asia actually received MORE rain than usual. This unusual finding seems to be tied into the atmospheric dynamics called the El Nino-Southern Oscillation. Basically, while eruptions cause most surrounding areas to receive less rain, that rain pours down on other specific areas – some get drought, some get floods. It’s a crucial discovery as we attempt to build geoengineering models to change our weather patterns, showing that we most definitely do not know all the factors that cause our weather yet.
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