Climatologists and other scientists are researching the correlation between the eruption of volcanoes and the subsequent cooling of the planet.
Reduction of the harsh effects of global warming can be attributed to volcanic eruptions. Volcanoes have been found to cause cooling for a long time now. Benjamin Franklin attributed a cool summer to the eruption of the Laki Volcano in Iceland in a paper written in 1783, and the 1883 eruption of Krakatau produced winter like temperatures for four years.
In 1991, the caldera in Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines erupted emitting 20,000,000 metric tons of sulfur dioxide into the air, and causing a devastating amount of destruction to the local population. The following cooling of the earth sent up more flags to scientists that sulfur was a particulate matter which potentially deflected the rays of the sun in a way that aided in cooling the planet. Mount Pinatubo alone cooled the planet by an estimated .04 degrees Celsius.
The recent eruption at Mount Turrialba in the canton of Turrialba and the province of Cartago was a great deal smaller in comparison, releasing around five to ten thousand metric tons. At first, scientists did not connect smaller eruptions as playing a part in cooling in a significant fashion, but then a blip in the forecasted data happened. Around the end of 1998 and the beginning of 1999 global warming began to decline, and climatologists had to reconfigure their speculations as to what was happening.
From 2000 up until the present, scientists have examined the atmosphere using ground monitoring stations, suspended hot air balloons and satellites. From these observations they have come to the conclusion that small eruptions from volcanoes have played a significant role in lowering the average yearly temperature. Data from the years between 2000 and 2013 has confirmed that smaller eruptions have emitted enough sulfur into the air to lessen the temperature of the earth by .12 degrees Celsius.
In that time Arenal Volcano has contributed a steady stream of volcanic material to the atmosphere, and now that Turrialba has become the most active volcano in Costa Rica it is pushing sulfur into the sky, as well. As Turrialba continues to churn up volcanic material it will play a significant role in helping to bring the temperature down. The lasting upshot of the volcanos expulsion of sulphur dioxide could be felt for months, and possibly years if the volcano continues to have periodic eruptions.
With volcanoes it isn’t all good news, as they also release harmful carbon dioxide into the air. The amount of Co2 that is released into the air is miniscule in comparison to what people contribute to the atmosphere regularly, so the main concern for curbing the release of the detrimental gas remains the same. Volcanoes that erupt in slow elongated eruptions are clearly better for the local community, and the positive effect on the temperature of the planet is a great plus, as well.