University of Cambridge > > Centre for Atmospheric Science seminars, Chemistry Dept. > Climate and health impacts of tropospheric volcanic aerosol

Climate and health impacts of tropospheric volcanic aerosol

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Amanda Maycock.

Volcanic eruptions have a significant potential to affect the climate system, the environment and society. In this talk, I will address the importance of tropospheric volcanic aerosol ­ whether derived from continuously degassing volcanoes or large-scale Icelandic flood lava events ­ for global aerosol, radiative forcing of climate and public health.

Using a global aerosol microphysics model (GLOMAP) together with volcanological datasets I will show that a future long-lasting Icelandic Laki-type eruption has the potential to substantially degrade air quality across Europe. Using current epidemiological evidence, I quantify the pollution-induced public health hazard that could arise if such an eruption recurred. I will show that, based on the predicted changes in particulate matter concentrations, up to 142,000 additional cardiopulmonary fatalities could occur in Europe. Such a volcanic air pollution event would therefore be a severe health hazard, increasing excess mortality in Europe on a scale that exceeds mortality due to seasonal influenza.

I will also discuss the importance of continuously degassing volcanoes such as Mt. Etna in Italy for global aerosol and estimates of the anthropogenic cloud albedo forcing.

This talk is part of the Centre for Atmospheric Science seminars, Chemistry Dept. series.

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