In August, I reported that the Kasitochi volcano in the Aleutian Island erupted over a million tons of sulfur dioxide (SO2) into the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean, here is a satellite sounder derived image of the cloud that was released:
That was then. Since then, the SO2 has had about a month to disperse around the Northern Hemisphere. Now we can watch it occur, see the movie (animated GIF) below. It may take awhile to fully load on slow connections:
The movie above, the first ever I’ve seen, was created by the University of Bremen in Germany. It shows how a plume of SO2 from the eruption was swirled, twirled and spread via weather systems in the NH during August 2008.
There have been a number of colorfully spectacular sunsets and sunrises since the eruption.
The sky show has subsided as the SO2 clouds have dissipated. But now the really interesting effect begins. With the dispersal happening, we’ll see just how much this million plus tons of SO2 will affect the earth’s albedo, and thus incoming solar radiation. The eruption of Pinatubo had a measurable effect on global temperatures, and while the Kasitochi volcano’s ejecta is smaller by comparison, it will be interesting to see if it enhances the global cooling trend we’ve recently seen.
Time will tell.