The released gases could trigger an El Niño event during winter 2020-21, a more intense polar vortex and warming across Eurasia, according to a study carried out by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS).
The Taal volcano , near Manila, began to erupt on January 12, 2020, the ash spewing 14 kilometers into the air, covering the villages in a layer of dust and affecting almost 460,000 people.
The Taal volcano is part of a chain of volcanoes along the western side of the island of Luzon, which were formed by subducting the Eurasian plate below the Philippine mobile volcanic belt. Lake Taal is within a 25-30 kilometer caldera formed by four explosive eruptions between 500,000 and 100,000 years ago.
The study has been published in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences (AAS). The fine ash and sulfur dioxide from the eruptions block incoming solar radiation, thus reducing the heat on the Earth’s surface which in turn causes atmospheric warming.
To project the impact of the Taal eruption, the researchers took data on the scale of volcanic eruptions around the world over the past 1,100 years taken from the ice cores of Greenland and Antarctica and fed them into global climate models.
They consider that there is a high probability (83% probability) of an El Niño-like warming event during winter 2020/21 if the magnitude of the Taal eruption reaches a mid-range "volcanic explosives index". This would cause an enhanced polar vortex – a large area of low pressure and cold air surrounding the North and South poles of the Earth, which in turn would cause warming across the entire Eurasian continent.