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What the St. Vincent volcano's eruption could mean for the atmosphere

Sunday, April 11th 2021, 6:50 pm - The powerful volcano's ash towers over the island of St. Vincent, and the initial shockwave was powerful enough to be detected by weather satellites.

After blasting to life after decades of dormancy on Friday, the La Soufriere volcano on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent has continued to vent ash into the air, along with regular volcanic rumblings.

So far no deaths have been reported, but the volcano is expected to cause significant hardship, with thousands expected to be displaced for several weeks amid severe impact to crops and livestock.

The volcano was so powerful that the shockwave was actually visible from space, and ash from the eruption soon reached Barbados, some 200 km to the east.

Aside from the impact on people, there may be a climate effect as well, as Tyler Hamilton, a meteorologist at The Weather Network, explains in the video above.

It's all to do with sulfur dioxide, one output from the volcano (in fact, the volcano's name, 'La Soufriere,' is a reference to sulfur). Depending on how long the eruption goes on, and how much sulfur dioxide is emitted, and whether the ash cloud reaches the stratosphere, it may actually induce a global cooling effect for a period.

Watch the video above for a full explanation.

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