(Resource News International) — The volcanic eruption in Iceland April 14 now disrupting air traffic in Europe was likely not large enough to influence weather patterns and crop development in North America this summer, according to U.S. meteorologist Drew Lerner.
Travellers moving through Europe continue to experience delays because of the volcanic ash, but Lerner, of Kansas-based World Weather Inc., said the volcano that erupted under the Eyjafjallajoekull glacier was not actually a very large one.
Its potential to change global weather patterns is very low, he said, “unless it continues to spew ash into the upper atmosphere for an extended period.”
Lerner said the volcanic ash would cause short-term visibility issues in Europe and may keep temperatures below their normals until the ash disperses. He said the ash was high enough to get into the jetstream, which means it will be carried around the world.
Volcano eruptions have been tied to shifts in global weather patterns in the past. In 1991 the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines was tied to global reductions in average temperatures, but Lerner said the Iceland volcano was much smaller than that event.
“It won’t be any different than what occurred with Mount Redoubt in Alaska a year ago,” said Lerner. That volcano did not have a large influence on weather patterns, he said.
“The whole reason we’ve had cooler weather has more to do with the solar cycle than particulate matter in the atmosphere,” said Lerner. “It might have contributed to it, but I think it would be pretty minuscule.”
Overall, Lerner said the Iceland volcanic eruption could contribute to a cooler summer this year, but the actual correlation would be small.
He noted his forecasts were already predicting cooler conditions across the northern hemisphere this summer, regardless of the volcano, due to solar cycle patterns.