Taal Volcano in Philippines is a Potential Climate Influencer

A Review of the January 10-11, 2020 Severe Weather Event
01/12/2020, 11:48 am EST
The Historic Global Warmth of December 2019
01/20/2020, 10:33 am EST
Show all

Residents living along Taal lake catch fish as Taal volcano erupts in Tanauan town, Batangas province south of Manila on January 14, 2020. - Taal volcano in the Philippines could spew lava and ash for weeks, authorities warned on January 14, leaving thousands in limbo after fleeing their homes fearing a massive eruption. (Photo by Ted ALJIBE / AFP)

Discussion: The Taal Volcano located on Luzon Island in the Philippines is considered one of the 10-most dangerous volcanoes in the world due its potential destructive eruptive power. Authorities are concerned that the spewing volcano could erupt “within a few hours or days” possibly reaching volcanic eruption index 4 based on the most recent 1977 and 1965 analogs. A VEI = 4 volcanic eruption ejects massive debris into the troposphere (the weather atmosphere) and “definite” ejection of debris into the stratosphere. Volcanic fallout into the stratosphere especially at a low latitude would produce influence on global climate. The most recent famous VEI = 4 volcanic eruption was Eyjafjallajokull in Iceland in April 2010 which caused enormous travel disruption over western and northern Europe for a period of 6 days. There have been two other VEI = 4 volcanic eruptions since the Icelandic episode: Nabro in the Southern Red Sea Region of Eritrea (2011) and Calbuco located in southern Chile (2015). The most influential volcanic eruption on climate during the past 30 years was Pinatubo in the Philippines (1991). Pinatubo was a VEI = 6 volcanic eruption. Volcanoes reaching VEI = 4 classification definitely inject fallout into the stratosphere. There is limited ability to scour-out these particulates out of the stratosphere therefore their duration of existence can be lengthy therefore influencing climate. In the case of Pinatubo the result was a measurable cooling of the Earth’s surface for nearly 2 years. The stratospheric condition affected rainfall patterns in the troposphere beneath most notably across Asia.