Volcanic eruptions are an important influence on decadal to centennial climate variability. Large eruptions lead to the formation of a stratospheric sulphate aerosol layer which can cause short-term global cooling. This response is modulated by feedback processes in the earth system, but the influence from future warming has not been assessed before. Using earth system model simulations we find that the eruption-induced cooling is significantly weaker in the future state. This is predominantly due to an increase in planetary albedo caused by increased tropospheric aerosol loading with a contribution from associated changes in cloud properties. The increased albedo of the troposphere reduces the effective volcanic aerosol radiative forcing. Reduced sea-ice coverage and hence feedbacks also contribute over high-latitudes, and an enhanced winter warming signal emerges in the future eruption ensemble. These findings show that the eruption response is a complex function of the environmental conditions, which has implications for the role of eruptions in climate variability in the future and potentially in the past.
- Radiative forcing
- Representative Concentration Pathway